Your mouth is a primary entryway to your body. So when you have poor oral health, the rest of your body suffers.
Taking care of your teeth is about a lot more than just the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. The bacteria in your mouth that causes tooth aches, bleeding gums, and bad breath can spread throughout your body and carry infection and inflammation with it.
If you’ve ever wondered why oral health is important, look no further. Today we’ll be discussing the non-dental health problems caused by bad oral health, and what you can do to protect your overall health and wellness.
You may be surprised to learn that poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease. The same bacteria that inflames gum tissue and causes gum disease can get into the bloodstream when left untreated. This bacteria can cause plaque to build up in the arteries and harden, which can lead to heart blockages, blood flow problems, and the increased risk of heart attack.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Did you know that your oral health can impact the health of your brain? Research has shown that gum infection and periodontitis can sometimes kill brain cells and lead to memory loss. This means that gingivitis and gum disease have the potential to lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease once the bacteria in the mouth has spread to the nerve channels.
Diabetics are unfortunately more susceptible to infection. When they experience infected gums that lead to periodontitis, their blood sugar levels will suffer as well. Periodontal disease will make diabetes more difficult to control, creating a vicious cycle of infection and out-of-control blood sugar levels. Additionally, gum disease can cause higher-than-usual blood sugar levels, so people with poor oral health habits are more susceptible to diabetes.
Similar to increased risk of heart disease, poor dental health can lead to respiratory infections. Bacteria settles in your mouth from infected teeth and gums and can travel to your lungs and even through the bloodstream. Once there, the bacteria can cause respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPOD).
It’s no secret that bad oral health habits like smoking or chewing tobacco can cause throat and oral cancers. But other types of cancer have also been linked to gum disease, including kidney cancer, blood cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
The hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy can make it easier for oral infections to develop in expectant moms. Any infection in the mother can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. Additionally, premature birth and low birth weights in infants have both been linked to gingivitis or gum disease in the mother.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to prevent serious health problems caused by bad oral health is to make sure you’re practicing good oral hygiene habits every day. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your general dentist every six months for a cleaning and a checkup.
Also, lifestyle changes can go a long way in positively impacting your oral and overall health. Avoid smoking cigarettes or using tobacco products, limit alcohol and sugary foods, and try to eat a well-balanced diet for optimal nutrition. Your teeth –– and your body! –– will thank you for it!
Caring for your oral health goes a long way in preventing other medical issues down the road. Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we take a holistic approach to dental health. We’re passionate about restoring our patients’ smiles and transforming their lives from the inside out. With offices located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, convenient care is just a call away. Contact our office to schedule an evaluation today!