How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

For many people, a trip to the dentist can lead to a lot of anxiety. But there are many ways in which oral care can contribute to improved overall health. (Image: Flickr; CC 2.0
For many people, a trip to the dentist can lead to a lot of anxiety. But there are many ways in which oral care can contribute to improved overall health. (Image: Flickr; CC 2.0

We all know that it’s important to floss our teeth for a healthy smile. From regular trips to the dentist to brushing your tongue, oral health is an important part of overall well being. Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget about oral health in favor of other parts of the body. However, a lack of oral hygiene can actually lead to a host of health issues that you might not be aware of.

For many people, a trip to the dentist can lead to a lot of anxiety. But there are many ways in which oral care can contribute to improved overall health. So, whether it’s for a regular check-up or sedation dentistry is required, there are many reasons to stay on top of the flossing.

 

Whether it’s skipping out on flossing your teeth before bed or forgetting to brush, many of us do not pay much attention to our oral health. (Image: Pxhere, CC 1.0)

Whether it’s skipping out on flossing your teeth before bed or forgetting to brush, many of us do not pay much attention to our oral health. (Image: Pxhere, CC 1.0)

Cardiovascular health

It can be hard to break out the floss at the end of the night, but this can be a very important step in maintaining your cardiovascular health. Gum inflammation can actually increase your risk of both heart disease and stroke, which can come as a surprise to many people. While inflammation in your gums might seem minor, it can lead to an increased level of inflammation throughout the body. According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology: “People with periodontal disease have an increased risk of heart disease and are twice as likely to experience a fatal heart attack than those without inflammation of the gums”.

Diabetes

If people are afflicted with gum disease, they are more likely to have diabetes. However, it’s also the case that gum disease can actually contribute to the development of diabetes. According to Saloman Amar at the Center for Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics at Boston University School of Dental Medicine, there is a link between these things. “When you treat and control diabetes, the condition in the mouth improves. And when you treat periodontal disease, the need for insulin is reduced.” While you may struggle to brush and floss your teeth throughout the day, there’s more than enough research out there that shows you may want to amp up your oral health regimen.

Pregnancy

It may be the case that issues of inflammation with the gums can contribute to diabetes. However, it’s worth being aware that this can become a problem for women when it comes to pregnancy as well. While pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to develop gestational diabetes than women without it, there can also be other health issues. Women with gum disease are more likely to give birth sooner than expected and have a low birth weight baby. Issues like this can also lead to a host of other health problems for babies, including developmental problems, ear infections, and asthma. As a result, it’s important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth in addition to having regular check-ups with their doctor.

Women with gum disease are more likely to give birth sooner than expected.(Image: Pxhere, CC 1.0)

Women with gum disease are more likely to give birth sooner than expected. (Image: Pxhere, CC 1.0)

Lung infections

The teeth and the mouth might seem like parts of the body that can withstand a little bit of neglect. However, those who are experiencing issues with their gums have more bacteria present in their mouth. As a result, they’re likely to be inhaling a lot more germs on a consistent basis than those without the disease. According to a study by the American Academy of Periodontology, people with respiratory diseases were more likely to have poor periodontal health than those with a healthy respiratory system. While breathing in this bacteria over time may lead to bronchitis and pneumonia, it can also worsen conditions like emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It may even lower the success rate of treatments for respiratory issues. Dentists use the nasal airway for treatments, so it’s important to be on top of your oral health.

Chronic headaches

It might be a lesser-known condition that impacts few people, but grinding your teeth can lead to a variety of issues in your body. Known as bruxism, many people actually grind their teeth in their sleep without a marked impact. However, for those whose condition is severe, the pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) can lead to joint pain in the lower jaw. As a result, this grinding and tightness in the jaw can cause earaches and even headaches if grinding is occurring on a consistent basis. In many cases, this aggressive mouth condition can also lead to issues with broken teeth and tooth sensitivity, so it’s important to get it taken care of where it occurs. If you’re experiencing headaches and joint aches in the lower jaw consistently, it may be time to consult with your dentist about solutions.

Whether it’s skipping out on flossing your teeth before bed or forgetting to brush, many of us do not pay much attention to our oral health. But not taking proper care of your teeth and gums can actually lead to a host of very serious health issues. A middle-aged patient in excellent health has a strong gag reflex. As a result, it’s important to take the time to floss and brush your teeth so that you don’t have to worry about gum inflammation and tooth decay. Due to certain dental anxieties, many people are afraid of making a visit to the dentist, but avoiding problems down the road can be worth the effort.

Author Bio: Ross is a blogger who loves to write, especially in the Health vertical. He has written many informative blogs. He has also written blogs in other verticals too, like personal development and unique gifting blogs.

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