According to a recent CDC report, oral problems such as cavities and gum disease affect millions of Americans each year. Oral health is often overlooked or valued less than the rest of your body’s wellbeing. However, dental issues will not only seriously affect your mouth but can also impact the rest of your body. In this post, your dentist in Sacramento explains how maintaining good oral hygiene is a strong investment in your overall health.
How Are the Two Connected?
Like the rest of your body, your mouth contains large amounts of bacteria. While this is normally not a cause for concern, poor oral hygiene can lead to oral bacteria traveling to other parts of your body. Your mouth acts as an entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts. Reduced salvia flow, a side effect of certain medications, also increases the number of bacteria in your mouth. The inflammation caused by gum disease allows these germs to enter your bloodstream.
What Conditions Are Linked?
Your oral health contributes to various afflictions, including:
- Heart attacks, strokes and endocarditis. Heart disease and infection can occur when bacteria from your mouth travels through your bloodstream.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. Premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to gum disease.
- Pneumonia. Specific bacteria from your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing respiratory issues.
- Diabetes. Gum disease does not cause diabetes, but can further complicate the disease, impairing the body’s ability to utilize insulin.
How Can I Protect My Health?
The link between your oral and overall health is serious, but the implementation of a strong oral hygiene routine can help keep you healthy. Simple steps include:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss and use mouthwash daily
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit your sugar intake
- Replace your toothbrush at least every three months
- Visit your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings
- Avoid tobacco use
Caring for your mouth will benefit your entire body and can even lower your risk of developing certain diseases. Those with preexisting conditions should be especially vigilant of their oral health. If you believe you are suffering from an oral health problem, contact your dentist immediately.
About the Author
Dr. Scott Grivas is committed to helping patients of all ages enjoy happy and healthy smiles. With over a decade of experience, Dr. Grivas is committed to providing patients with the most up-to-date and effective care. He is a member of the International Association of Mercury Free Dentists, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and has been recognized by the International Dental Implant Association. If you have further questions about oral health, he can be reached through his website or at 916-929-9222.