Contrary to popular belief, forgetting to go to the dentist, brush or floss regularly or take care of your teeth doesn’t just affect your mouth. While you do suffer from more decay and infections and a higher risk of gum disease, your entire body can also suffer.
New research is continually showing a strong connection between your oral health habits and your body’s overall health. If you see your dentist regularly and keep a consistent and regular brushing schedule, you may be able to prevent or reduce the risk of severe health issues such as strokes, heart attacks, and even premature labour if you’re pregnant. If you have diabetes, poor oral health can even spell complications. Believe it or not, a swab of your saliva can tell doctors and dentists a lot of about your overall health.
How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
Your mouth is a haven for bacteria. At any one time, around 500 species of bacteria call your mouth, teeth, and gums home. While your saliva plays a significant part in keeping your mouth healthy, it’s flossing and brushing that brings it home.
Without a brush or floss to remove food and keep your teeth clean, plaque begins to build up in your gumline. Eventually, it can create gingivitis which may then lead to a more severe condition known as periodontitis. If you have gum disease and then brush and floss, you’re at risk of allowing bacteria to enter your bloodstream. While your immune system is reasonably capable of combating nasty germs, there is a chance you can develop another infection in your body. If another disease or condition weakens your immune system, you are more at risk.
While the typical result of gum disease and infection, without treatment, is the loss of your teeth, current research also suggests you have more to lose. The poorer your oral health is, the poorer your overall health is.
If you have diabetes, the risk of gum disease is also heightened. The more advanced that gum disease, the more insulin resistant your body is.
If you’re pregnant, seeing your dentist is very important. According to research carried out at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 18 percent of low-weight babies born in the United States every year may be connected to oral infections. The research shows a strong connection between toxins in oral bacteria and the transportation of them through the bloodstream to the placenta.
Researchers now suggest there is a link between gingivitis and clogged arteries and blood clots. The bacteria present in your mouth can cause inflammation in your body which then heightens the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Research in the past decade has shown that the connection between your oral health and overall health is too strong to ignore. If you’re worried about how your teeth and gums might be affecting your health, make an appointment with your dentist today.