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A General Dentist Explains the Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Our general dentist says your oral health is linked to your overall health. Conversely, some health issues can negatively impact your oral health. For example, gastrointestinal issues can lead to tooth decay as acids from the stomach get pushed into the mouth.
Understanding the link between your general health and oral health makes it easier for you to keep your entire body healthy.
A general dentist explores the link between oral and overall health
The mouth is filled with bacteria and it is an entry point for the respiratory and digestive systems. Most of the bacteria in the mouth are harmless, but some can lead to health issues when they get into other parts of the body. For example, a person might inhale some of the bacteria in the mouth into their lungs, leading to respiratory issues like pneumonia.
Under normal circumstances, good oral hygiene and the immune system are enough to keep oral bacteria under control. When a person fails to take proper care of their mouth, bacteria there can reach dangerous levels leading to problems like gum disease, tooth decay, and infections.
Medications like decongestants and diuretics tend to reduce saliva flow and that reduces the body's natural defense against germs. Saliva serves as a natural cleaner for the mouth, washing away bacteria, acids, and food particles.
Diseases like HIV/AIDS hinder the immune system's effectiveness, increasing a person's risk of oral infection.
Here are some of the health issues that can be caused or worsened by poor oral hygiene:
- Birth complications: Advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, has been linked to mothers having babies with low birth weight and premature births
- Cardiovascular disease: Gum disease increases a person's risk of developing conditions like clogged arteries, heart disease or stroke
- Endocarditis: This is an infection that occurs in the valves or chambers of the heart. It occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body, like the mouth, make their way there
- Pneumonia: This respiratory condition is caused by some types of bacteria getting into the lungs through inhalation
- Diabetes: This condition reduces a person's ability to regulate their blood sugar and it limits the body's ability to fight infection. People with gum disease are more likely to develop an infection
- Alzheimer's disease: One of the symptoms of the advanced stages of this condition is deteriorating oral health
Keeping your mouth healthy
Ready to take control of your oral health? Here are some of the things you should be doing to give your teeth and gums maximum protection:
- Brush twice daily: This helps to remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and the gums
- Floss: Flossing cleans the tight spaces between teeth
- Use mouthwash: Mouthwash cleans areas missed by brushing and flossing
- Visit a dentist twice a year: Dentists perform preventative treatments like the application of dental sealants to protect teeth
Take control of your health
Call our Tavares clinic today to learn more about how your oral health is linked to your general health.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
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