At first, it might seem strange that there would be a correlation between your oral health and your overall health. In fact, your mouth can act as a gateway into your body, and its health can have huge effects on your body’s health. To further understand how important it is to practice good oral health habits and keep your mouth clean, here are just some of the ways poor oral health can have an effect on your body.
When bacteria builds up on your teeth, it makes your gums prone to infection and inflammation and can lead to periodontitis, or gum disease. The inflammation associated with periodontitis can then weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar. For people who already suffer from diabetes, this can be a very serious problem. Since diabetics already have a hard time processing sugar because of lack of insulin, the inflammation associated with gum disease exacerbates this inability to utilize insulin. To make matters worse, diabetics are already more likely to have periodontitis because high blood sugar provides the right conditions for infection to develop.
Gum disease and heart disease are often related because inflammation in the mouth can lead to inflammation in the blood vessels, leading to an increase in the risk of heart disease. Inflamed blood vessels restrict blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body, which raises blood pressure. The bacteria from inflamed gums can also enter the bloodstream and lead to a hardening of the arteries. Plaque then develops in the arteries. This plaque not only blocks blood flow, but it can also break off and travel to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.
Though the link between periodontitis and osteoporosis is controversial, some studies have found that women with osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from gum disease than those who don’t. Researchers theorize that inflammation from gum disease can possibly weaken bones in other parts of the body.
Researchers are exploring the link between periodontitis in the mother and prematurity or low birth weight in babies. Inflammation and infection appear to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb. Gum disease could also contribute to health problems in babies such as lung and heart conditions and learning disorders.
The simple act of breathing when you have infected teeth could allow bacteria can get into your lungs. This can lead to or worsen respiratory infections such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Caring for your teeth and gums is of paramount importance. By maintaining a healthy mouth, you are also maintaining a healthy body. Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and coming in for regular checkups and cleanings is the best way to avoid gum disease and keep your mouth and body healthy. Call us today to schedule an appointment!Contact Us