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How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

March 17, 2023 / DENTISTRY

In the dental industry we have seen firsthand how dental health is closely linked to overall health. Many people don't realize that neglecting oral hygiene can have serious consequences beyond just tooth decay and gum disease.

Poor dental health can lead to a range of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's disease. The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body, and bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and spread to other organs.

For example, studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, as the same bacteria that cause gum disease can also cause inflammation in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, poor dental health can also lead to respiratory infections, as bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs.

In this blog post, we will discuss how oral health impacts overall health.

1. Cardiovascular System

Research has shown that there is a link between periodontal disease (gum disease) and cardiovascular disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bones that support the teeth. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the arteries. This inflammation can lead to atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries, and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

2. Respiratory System

Poor oral hygiene can also impact the respiratory system. Bacteria that grow in the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, causing respiratory infections such as pneumonia. In particular, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or those who have undergone organ transplants, are at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections due to poor oral health.

3. Digestive System

Your digestive system also relies on good oral health. The digestive process begins in the mouth, where enzymes in saliva break down food. If you have poor oral health, you may not produce enough saliva, making it difficult to chew and swallow food properly. This can lead to digestive problems, such as acid reflux and indigestion.

4. Diabetes

Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. This is because diabetes can weaken the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infections. Periodontal disease can also make it harder for individuals with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels, making it crucial for individuals with diabetes to practice good oral hygiene.

5. Pregnancy

Pregnant women who have poor oral health are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and delivering preterm or low birth weight babies. This is because the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and affect the developing fetus.

Maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups, is essential for overall health. At St. Jacobs Dental Care we always emphasize the importance of dental health to our patients and encourage them to take it seriously. A healthy mouth truly is a gateway to a healthy body.

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