How Dental Health Can Affect Your Overall Health

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Dental health and, in this case bad dental health can have a negative effect on your overall health. It can also have a significant impact on other diseases a person can be suffering from.

People with poor dental health can suffer from a variety of health complications and experience severe pain, loss of appetite and the inability to eat certain foods which will in turn affect their nutrition. It can also result in loss of sleep which can cause the sufferer to be in a constant state of fatigue. This can affect the person’s productivity in work and school.

When 18th century naturalist George Cuvier said “Show me your teeth and I will tell you who you are,” the man was definitely on to something. Sometime in year 2000, the US surgeon general even went as far as calling the mouth a ‘mirror’ of health and diseases that shows what happens in the body.

Proper dental health can to a large extent reduce the risk of life threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases. Good dental and oral health also leads to safe pregnancy for expecting mothers.

When next you visit the dentist, have it in mind that you are not only getting your teeth seen to, you are also taking a very important step towards the overall health of your body. See this website on how you can benefit more on your next appointment with your oral care expert.

What is the connection between dental health and overall health?

It is no secret that our mouth is full of bacteria; some of these bacteria are quite harmless, while some can be harmful under the right circumstances. There is evidence to show that the bacteria in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body and contribute to the growth of diseases.

How this happens is not certain, but researchers suggest that bacteria in the mouth can travel throughout the body to affect the liver, heart and kidney.

Let me highlight some areas where dental health can affect your overall health:

Cardiovascular Health

This relates to how poor dental health can affect your heart. Poor dental health, especially gum inflammation, has been known to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are at more risk of having a heart attack than people without this disease. Periodontal disease is a result of the inflammation of tissues surrounding the gums and is caused by a myriad of factors, one of which is smoking. Chronic periodontal disease can result in the loss of bone support for the tooth, resulting in loss of the tooth.

The bacteria from the inflamed tooth or gum can travel into your bloodstream and affect the arteries in the heart, causing a hardening of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This condition causes plaque to form on the inner walls of your arteries which can block the flow of blood from the heart to the body. This increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Diabetes

You may not be aware, but people with diabetes are susceptible to gum inflammation and vice versa. There are studies to suggest that inflammation of the gum may actually contribute to the severity of diabetes as it affects how the blood controls body sugar. Inflammation of the gums and the attendant periodontal disease can make it difficult for the body to control blood sugar level and this will only make the diabetic symptoms worse.

Patients with diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2 are more at risk of periodontal disease. In fact, this condition has been determined to be a major complication of diabetes. The severity of the risk is tied to the control of the diabetes which means that periodontal disease is likely to increase significantly if diabetes is poorly controlled.

The link between dental health and diabetes is actually a two way street. Not only do people with diabetes suffer more from periodontal disease, the disease also makes it difficult for diabetics to control the situation. Don’t forget the periodontal disease is an offshoot of gum inflammation.  This makes the case for proper dental health very important.

Respiratory & lung Infection

Let’s look at it this way. Gum inflammation results into periodontal disease. People suffering from gum inflammation very likely have bacteria breeding in their mouth. Now consider the consequences of swallowing and inhaling these bacteria and germs. It can lead to respiratory and lung infections such as pneumonia. And for people with a pre existing condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gum inflammation only makes it worse.

Pregnancy

Gun inflammation and poor dental health have been linked to problems in pregnancy that can result in premature birth and low-birth weight babies. Even though the relationship between dental health, gum inflammation and healthy pregnancy is not too strong, dental care experts emphasize it could still be a potential risk and one not to take lightly.

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can put an expectant mother at an increased risk of gum disease, combined with the possibility of poor dental health as a result of fatigue and pregnancy stress.

If you are pregnant, keeping your dentist appointment and maintaining good dental health is vital for a safe and healthy pregnancy in order to reduce the risk of gum disease as this can cause premature delivery, low weight baby and other delivery and post delivery complications.

Babies born before their due date or with a low birth weight stand a higher risk of developing complications, therefore pregnant women should take care of their teeth, if not for themselves, then for their baby.

The bottom line

There are several reasons why proper dental health is good for overall health, therefore resolve to practice good dental hygiene such as brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day and do all you can to protect your teeth and gums.

Also make sure to schedule regular visit with your dentist for checkups and cleaning for prevention and treatment of cavities. This will not only protect your teeth, it might just save your life.

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