Your dental health affects more than just your teeth and gums, it affects your overall health as well. You may not think that a cavity or infection in your gums can have an impact on something as major as your heart, but it can! Teeth that ache, bleeding gums, and bad breath are all indicators of poor oral health. When bacteria that are present in your mouth get into the bloodstream, they can cause infection and inflammation in other parts of the body. This creates a definite link between your oral health and the overall health of your body.
There are countless bacteria in your mouth at all times and most of that bacteria are harmless. However, some of the bacteria can cause disease. In fact, gum disease is a prevalent chronic inflammatory condition yet it is often a silent disease. The mouth acts as a portal of entry for an infection. From your mouth, the bacteria can move on to your digestive and respiratory tracts, causing significant health concerns in other parts of your body.
Oral health is a gauge of overall health. Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry can help you take care of your oral health and perhaps help prevent other health issues. In this article, we wanted to share some of the health issues that can be caused by bad oral health.
When you have poor oral health, you are at risk for heart disease. Researchers have found that people with gum disease are twice as likely as others to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke. If your gums are inflamed and infected due to the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, this bacteria can move into your bloodstream and cause your arteries to build up plaque and harden. Hardening of the arteries is a serious condition that constricts the blood flow to your heart and increases the chances of suffering from a heart attack. With poor oral health, you are also susceptible to endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and/or valves because the bacteria from your mouth spread through the bloodstream and attach to areas in your heart.
There is a reciprocal relationship between oral health and diabetes. Inflammation in the mouth can decrease the body’s ability to control blood sugar and make you more vulnerable to diabetes. And, when you have diabetes, you are more prone to have oral health issues. With diabetes, your body is unable to process or control blood sugar and, therefore, it increases complications.
Diabetes can cause you to experience more tooth decay due to the starches and sugars that result in forming plaque. The higher your blood sugar level coupled with the inability to fight bacteria that diabetes results in, makes you more vulnerable to gingivitis (early gum disease). If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, a more serious gum infection. Periodontitis will cause your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which will cause your teeth to loosen and fall out.
Substances from unhealthy, inflamed gums can kill brain cells and lead to memory loss. Dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s disease can result from gum infections when the bacteria from your mouth spreads to the nerve channels or enters the bloodstream.
New research is showing there could be a link between gum disease and life-threatening respiratory illnesses like pneumonia. If you have an existing respiratory condition, your lungs are already vulnerable to incoming bacteria. If you are elderly, a smoker, have COPD, are a cancer patient, or have HIV, you are high risk for more infection in your lungs.
Poor oral health can lead to oral and throat cancers as well as other types of cancer. The risk of kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers is much higher for people who have oral health issues.
Many people who have poor oral health also suffer from kidney disease. Infections in the body such as periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. Kidney disease can affect the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure. Gum disease causes the body to have a weaker immune system and be more likely to acquire infections.
It has been reported that people who have gum disease are four times more likely to have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both gum disease and RA have inflammation in common. The bacteria from gingivitis can increase inflammation throughout the body, making the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis much higher.
The best way to prevent overall health issues that are caused by poor oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular visits with your dentist. Healthy teeth are clean and free of pain caused by cavities and disease. Healthy gums are pink and don’t bleed when brushed or flossed.
Let Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry Help Take Care of Your Oral Health
Our experienced and professional team at Sninski & Schmitt Family Dentistry can help you with your oral health. Our mission is to work with you where you are with oral health and improve your teeth and gums. If you are looking for a dentist in Cary or Holly Springs, we can help. We take a wide variety of insurance plans and are currently accepting new patients. Reach us at our Holly Springs dentist office at (919)-600-6262 and our Cary dentist office at (919) 467-2203. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.