Photo Credit: Adobe Stock | Antonioguillem
It’s so easy to ignore your oral health, especially if you aren’t having too much pain. However, your body is one connected system, so if something is wrong in your mouth, it could affect other parts of your body. Similarly, health problems that have nothing to do with your teeth or gums could affect your oral health. To protect every part of your body, you must know more about the connection between your mouth and health.
Oral Health and Overall Health Connection
Typically, when you see a doctor about a problem, the doctor treats that area only. For example, if you have a broken arm, your doctor isn’t going to send you to an ear doctor. Therefore, you may find it odd for your doctor to send you to a dentist or vice versa. People tend to think of the systems in their body, such as gastrointestinal, skeletal, nervous, etc., as separate. However, the body is one working machine with many different parts and functions. This is why a problem in your mouth has the potential to affect another area of your body. A holistic view of the body is what allows doctors to treat patients as a whole.
How Poor Oral Health Affects Your Entire Body
When you don’t take proper care of your teeth, plaque, tartar and bacteria accumulate. Of course, this increases your risk of oral problems, such as decay, infection and gum disease. However, there are other examples of oral health problems affecting other parts of the body. If bacteria leaves your mouth and reaches your heart, it could cause endocarditis, which is an infection in the inner lining of your heart. Research has also shown a connection between inflammation/infection and cardiovascular disease. And last, severe gum disease has been shown to cause premature births.
Certain Health Conditions Impact Your Oral Health
Some health problems that have nothing to do with your mouth can actually cause problems with your teeth and gums. Diabetes is one of the most common that can affect your mouth. Diabetes makes it harder for your body to fight infection, so you are at higher risk of gum disease if you fail to take proper care of your gums. Another common disease that can affect your mouth is osteoporosis. This disease makes bones weak, including your jawbone, which could cause your teeth to become loose. Also, some of the medication used to fight osteoporosis has a small risk of damaging your jaw bones.
What You Should Do to Protect Yourself
Knowing that your oral health can cause serious health problems and that some health problems can increase your risk of oral disorders may be scary, but it doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. Whether you have diabetes, osteoporosis, or some other condition — or not — it’s important to take proper care of your teeth with regular flossing, brushing and dental cleanings. Your dentist will work with you to keep your teeth healthy, which will reduce your risk of other diseases. Making sure that you see your dentist regularly is also a great way of catching potential problems early, so they can be treated sooner.
When you fail to keep your mouth clean, you aren’t just impacting your oral health. You are putting yourself at risk for more serious conditions. If you would like more information about dental health, or if you’d like to start getting back on track with your dental care, contact Landmark Dental Group to schedule an appointment today.