How Your Dental Health Affects You

Your Oral Health Affects Your General Health
Studies have found that bad oral health can be linked with, and sometimes cause, disease in other parts of the body. pressmaster / 123RF

Your Oral Health Can Impact Your General Health, and Vice Versa

Your dental health is more closely associated with your overall well-being than you might realize. The systems of the body are interconnected, and none can function completely independently of the others. This includes your oral health, which if neglected, can be associated with various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Research suggests that those with poor dental health or who suffer from gum disease could be at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared with people with healthy teeth. The study found that each time bacteria from the mouth enter the brain, it triggers immune system responses that could ultimately kill neurons.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Periodontitis (gum disease) is linked to an elevated risk of heart disease, and those with gingivitis or severe periodontal disease are at the greatest risk for cardiovascular disease. Conditions such as stroke and atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) have been connected to the inflammation triggered by mouth bacteria, according to a report from the American Heart Association (AHA).
  • Endocarditis: The mouth is filled with bacteria and other germs, which are spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. When these bacteria spread to the heart, they have the ability to attach themselves and cause inflammation that could potentially lead to a serious infection of the heart known as endocarditis. In this life-threatening condition, growths or pockets of bacteria stick to the lining and valves of the heart in at-risk patients.
  • Fertility Issues: According to recent research, dental health could be associated with fertility in both men and women. According to multiple studies, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis as well as men with erectile dysfunction are more likely to be diagnosed with periodontal disease than people without these medical conditions.

How Your Health Affects Your Teeth

Certain health conditions have clearly been shown to adversely affect your oral health. These include:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes affects the body’s ability to process sugar and results in higher levels of blood sugar. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes negatively impact the teeth as well as the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, and other parts of the body.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis can have a major impact on the portion of the jawbone that supports the teeth, and bone loss has been shown to be a major cause for periodontitis, and loose or lost teeth. Osteoporosis is also common among patients who have less than favorable outcomes from oral surgery.
  • Pregnancy-Related Conditions: Pregnancy can result in dental problems, such as an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease for some women. Although pregnancy alone does not deteriorate oral health, the increased production of certain hormones can affect the body’s response to plaque on the teeth. Pregnancy also affects the type of dental care that can be received. For example, your dentist may put off taking X-rays until after the birth of your baby.

Good hygiene is the best way to care for your teeth and gums and protect not only your oral health, but your health in general. To further discuss the importance of dental care and how it can maximize your overall health and well-being, contact Knights Family Dentistry anytime.