Dental Health and Overall Health
Did you know that your mouth connects to the rest of your body? Studies show that your oral health is a not only an indicator of your overall health, but also affects your general wellbeing. For instance, gum disease and tooth decay may contribute to many serious health conditions. Moreover, oral infections have been shown to contribute to major health concerns and adversely affect the course of other conditions and their treatments.
Oral hygiene and preventive dental care is a vital component of maintaining good oral health. This requires a combination of proper at-home oral care and regular professional teeth cleaning and thorough exams at the dentist’s office. At Great Grins Dental, we acknowledge the importance of health prevention and the role that oral health plays in ensuring your total wellbeing.
The Mouth-body Connection
Many studies show a connection between gum disease and general health. Micro-organisms, such as the harmful bacteria in your mouth that cause infections, can enter the bloodstream or travel down the airways to other parts of the body, where they can worsen or increase the risk of various health problems such as stroke, heart disease, and respiratory disorders.
Some of the conditions and diseases linked to oral health include:
- Heart disease and stroke - studies suggest that bacteria from diseased gums can cause artery-clogging plaques and infective endocarditis, or inflammation of the interior lining of the heart and heart valves. These conditions can lead to a fatal infection if not treated.
- Diabetes - People with diabetes are at high risk of bacterial infections, including gum disease, which can make diabetes management difficult and cause complications associated with high blood sugar levels and delays in processing blood sugar.
- Respiratory disorders - Inhaling micro-organisms from the mouth and throat into the lungs can lead to respiratory infections or worsen existing lung infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema.
- Premature birth - Bacteria from gum disease may initiate an inflammatory response that induces premature labor and early delivery.
Studies have also shown links between oral health and some oral cancers, developmental and behavioral problems in children, arthritis, and sleeping problems, among others.
The Importance of Regular Dental Visits
To protect your oral health, and subsequently your general health, it is important that you exercise proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth regularly, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental visits for professional scaling, a thorough examination, and oral cancer screening.
If you has been more than six months, or years, since your last dental visit, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with Dr. Shaw as soon as possible. Contact Great Grins Dental in Austin, TX, today, and remember that caring for your mouth is an investment in your general health.