Proper oral care isn’t just about having a beautiful and healthy smile. Recent research has found that there are over 100 medical conditions that can be detected in the early stages by a dentist. A high number of overall health conditions can have oral symptoms, such as ulcers, dry mouth, swollen or bleeding gums, and bad breath. While the nature of this link is still unclear, what is certain is that the condition of your oral health is closely related to your overall physical health.
Learn more about the connection between health conditions and oral health below.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to the development of gum disease and tooth loss. Diabetes can slow the healing process and lower resistance to infections, including oral infections. Infections in your mouth can contribute to low-grade inflammation throughout the body, affecting sugar-processing abilities.
Studies have shown that people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums.
If you are missing some or all of your teeth, or have lost significant amounts of bone and tissue around your teeth, you may be at an increased risk of stroke. Also, those with severe periodontitis are at risk of developing atherosclerotic plaques, which can cause strokes.
Oral cancer occurs when cells are found on the lips, tongue, gums, inner lining of the mouth, jaw or upper throat area. Oral cancer screenings help to eliminate the risks of developing a more serious oral health condition. Carcinogens found in tobacco products, alcohol and certain foods, as well as excessive exposure to the sun, have proven an increase risk of developing oral cancer.
Inflammation due to chronic periodontal disease quadruples your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Bacteria found in oral cavities can enter the blood stream after invasive dental treatments, causing bacteria to enter the brain regularly. This bacteria can potentially trigger immune system responses, causing the release of chemicals that can kill neurons.
Research shows that women who have periodontal disease have an increased risk of delivering a pre-term baby with a low birth weight. Gum infections stem from fluctuating hormone levels that come with pregnancy. Pregnant women who are also diabetic are more prone to gum inflammation and more severe gum disease.
Visiting a dentist regularly can help you maintain your oral health and overall health. By taking good care of your teeth and treating any dental problems that may occur, you can keep your mouth healthy and contribute to your overall health.