Sometimes, our mouths are referred to as the “windows” to our bodies. Our mouths are called this because oral health, good or bad, can positively or negatively affect our overall health. As surprising as that may be, it’s essential to know that your oral health can and will affect more than just your teeth and gums. Continue reading to learn more about the connection between oral health and overall health below.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD ORAL HEALTH
Did you know that nearly half of all adults 30 years or older show signs of gum disease? Poor oral hygiene habits can cause bacteria to accumulate and lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease and other health complications detailed below.
Dental decay and gum disease lead to tooth loss, but both are preventable. With a good daily oral health routine, you can maintain your pearly whites for a lifetime.
You can reduce the risk of dental and other health diseases by:
- Brushing your teeth twice daily
- Maintaining a low sugar diet
- Making regular visits to The Landing Dental Spa
To learn more about proper oral health, read our blog, Oral Health Awareness Month: Finding Your Oral Care Routine.
POOR ORAL HEALTH AND ITS EFFECTS
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) believes that good oral health can improve your ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and make facial expressions to show emotions!
Since your mouth is the entry point to both your respiratory and digestive tracts, it can start to affect overall health when bacteria enter and aren’t dealt with properly. Usually, the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Additionally, tobacco use, alcohol use and eating a poor diet can all be behaviors that lead to poor health. These habits can also cause teeth staining, which is not harmful. It does, however, have an impact on the health of your teeth and can make you feel slightly self-conscious. You can prevent surface staining with regular cleanings. More stubborn stains may need to be taken care of by a dental professional.
Conditions linked to poor oral health habits, according to the Mayo Clinic, involve the following health issues below.
Researchers examined data from 65,000 post-menopausal women between the ages of 54-86. New research found those with a history of gum disease were 14 percent more likely to develop cancer. Of these, one in three developed breast cancer, while there was also a highly increased risk of lung cancer, oesophageal, gallbladder and skin cancers in those with a history of gum disease.
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves. It typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to specific areas in your heart.
The connection here is not fully understood; however, research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and birth complications
Periodontitis (severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and severe health complications) has been linked to premature and low birth weights. Pregnant women with healthy gums are three times less likely to have a premature baby. According to research, there is a one-in-four chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease could give birth early, before or at 35 weeks. To learn more about oral health and pregnancy, read our blog, How to Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy During Pregnancy.
Since your mouth is connected to the respiratory tract, certain bacteria can escape your mouth and fall into the lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory complications and diseases.
Studies suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with a severe form of gum disease may play a role in some diseases. Certain conditions, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems even more severe. Research also shows that people with gum disease have a more challenging time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular oral health care can improve diabetes control.
Osteoporosis is a bone-weakening disease linked to bone and tooth loss. The medications given to help can also cause a slight risk of weakening or damaging the jaw bone.
As seen with Alzheimer’s disease, many people will forget about their oral health, causing oral complications late in life. However, those who have healthy gums are also 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who have suffered from gum disease over a long period.
Other diseases are also linked to poor oral health care, such as eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth).
GOOD ORAL HEALTH = GOOD OVERALL HEALTH | THE LANDING DENTAL SPA
The Landing Dental Spa offers you and your family a state-of-the-art dental office with a spa-like atmosphere. Our goal is to provide you with a healthy smile and make your dental experience as relaxing and comfortable as possible.
The Landing Dental Spa accommodates all of its patients with full-service cosmetic and family dentistry. Our relaxing environment is sure to calm and soothe you as you are adequately treated. Our services range from dental exams, cleanings and teeth whitening to cosmetic procedures like Botox and dermal fillers to dental emergencies, gum disease treatment, root canals and more.
If you have any questions about your dental health, please feel free to contact us or make an appointment with us by calling 304-594-2200 or using our online contact form. We look forward to seeing you soon!