If you’re one of those people that skip out on regular dental checkups, then you must read this article. Many individuals are not aware that oral health is a great predictor of overall health. Visiting your Santa Monica dentist twice a year is vital to keeping up with the health of your mouth and screening for other serious health issues. Did you know that oral health is tied to diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease?
How Oral Health Affects Overall Health
Up to six billion bacteria live in your mouth, according to Health Magazine. Bacteria are made up of different microorganisms; although most of the time the bacteria is healthy and harmless, if there are some issues with the bacteria, it can lead to overall health problems. Health Magazine reports that this “can lead to infections, tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Oral bacteria can also travel into the blood stream, causing or contributing to an array of diseases that affect more than just your smile.”
Also, if you don’t take care of your oral health, brushing and flossing regularly, plaque that will form from food deposits, along with a possible overgrowth of bacteria, can lead to other serious diseases.
Health Issues Associated with Oral Health
At Hale & Hale, DDS, we know that your body is one, and issues affecting your oral health are often linked to problems with your general health. Here is a list that Mayo Clinic provided of problems associated with dental health.
- Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. Some 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. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.
Ways to Protect Your Oral and Overall Health
1. Good dental upkeep – Now that you know that the health of your teeth, gums and mouth can lead to other, serious health issues, it is that much more important to remember to care for your teeth. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. Replace your toothbrush every three months.
2. Regular dental checkups – Hale & Hale, DDS, your local Santa Monica dentist, offers bi-annual dental checkups. When you come in for your dental cleaning, our trained dentists will check your mouth to make sure everything is healthy. We will advise you of any issues we may find, and provide a consultation on how to best treat any health concerns.
3. Maintain a healthy diet – Eating healthy is not only beneficial to keep the unwanted pounds off, it is also keeps your mouth healthy. For example, eating a lot of sweets may cause an overgrowth of plaque on your teeth, causing tooth decay, diabetes, etc. Eating healthy will keep you healthy!
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