Oral Health and Systemic Health: Is There a Connection?

Oral Health and Systemic Health: Is There a Connection?

Aug 01, 2021

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. That is why keeping your teeth and gums healthy is such a critical part of your life. For this reason, we have various services at our dentist’s office near you geared towards ensuring you have a beautiful and healthy smile.

Your oral health affects the rest of your body. So, if you are cavalier about your dental health or cleaning your teeth and gums each day, you might find yourself developing other health issues. It is because an oral-systemic connection exists, which means that your oral health will impact your overall health.

What Is the Oral Systemic Connection?

Have you ever wondered why dental exams are so important? Dentists can examine your mouth and peer into the rest of your body, so to speak. Our dentist near you can detect Crohn’s disease, cancer, and even diabetes with dental exams.

On the other hand, oral infections are known to affect the rest of your body and have been linked to other ailments.

Your mouth teems with bacteria, almost 6 million of them. However, most of them are harmless. Failure to follow proper dental hygiene can result in an overgrowth of bacteria, leading to a tooth infection and gum disease.

Your immune system will ward off the bacteria in most cases, especially if you have good oral health.. Also, the same way the body has the blood-brain barrier designed to keep toxins from entering the brain, a similar barrier protects germs from entering the bloodstream from the mouth.

However, if you have periodontitis, this barrier might break down, allowing the bacteria to affect the rest of your body.

Almost 90% of systemic diseases and diseases affecting the organs have oral manifestations that aid the development of these diseases. At the same time, your oral health can also be affected due to these systemic diseases.

What Conditions Can Be Linked to Your Oral Health?

Your oral health is known to contribute to certain diseases, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke:  The diseases that cause chronic inflammation, such as gum disease, have been linked to heart disease and stroke and can increase the chances of getting these conditions.
  • Endocarditis: It is an infection of the endocardium, the inner lining of the heart chambers. The disease is caused by bacteria found at a different part of your body, such as your oral cavity, then they get into the bloodstream and attach to the lining of the heart.
  • Birth complications and pregnancy – Gum disease has been associated with low birth weight and premature births.
  • Respiratory disease: Since the mouth is the entry to the respiratory system, there is a chance that you can breathe in bacteria. The same bacteria that are known to cause gum disease can also cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia
  • Cancer: People who have gum disease are highly likely to develop certain cancers such as kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancer.

On the other hand, some diseases affect your oral health, such as:

  • HIV/AIDS: There are oral issues such as mucosal lesions that are experienced by people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Diabetes: When you have diabetes, you will have a weakened immune system, putting your gums at risk. Also, if you have gum disease, you will have a difficult time controlling the disease
  • Osteoporosis: This disease is also associated with tooth and bone loss.

Worthy Mentions

Other conditions that are known to have some connection with your oral health are:

  • Weight gain
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

How to Protect Your Dental Health?

As you have seen, there exists an oral-systemic connection. Therefore, you may need to take good care of your teeth and gums to improve the quality of your life. Practice the following habits:

  • Indulge in healthy and tooth-friendly foods and limit foods that have added sugars
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Floss each day
  • Brush your teeth to remove plaque and food after meals
  • Invest in an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Replace toothbrushes after every couple or three months

Always remember to visit our dentist’s office near you for exams, checkups, and cleanings. Therefore, contact us at Julian Center for Comprehensive Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

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