July 10, 2019
Medical professionals have long wondered if there was a connection between your dental health and your overall body’s health. Thanks to a recent American Dental Association study, we now have a definite answer: poor oral health can negatively affect your entire body. Furthermore, certain diseases can be first identified through oral symptoms. With this newfound focus on your oral health, it’s important to know how to maintain it. In this post, your dentist in Scarborough explains how your mouth’s health is connected to your overall body’s well-being and how to best care for both.
What’s the Connection?
Your mouth and body are linked by multiple factors, but the root cause of almost every issue they share is bacteria. Your mouth is filled with countless germs and when they aren’t managed properly, it can negatively affect your overall health. Most commonly, bacteria from your mouth enters your bloodstream through inflamed or infected gums and travels across your body.
What Diseases Are Involved?
Certain conditions can be caused by poor oral health, including the following.
A specific bacterium known as streptococcus sanguis has been identified in both gum and heart disease. Originating in your mouth, it enters the bloodstream from your gums and travels to your arteries. There, it restricts blood flow and raises your risk of heart attacks, strokes and other conditions.
When bacteria accumulate in your mouth, it can be pulled into your lungs. This can result in pneumonia and other serious respiratory conditions.
Periodontitis (also known as gum disease) has been identified as a factor in both premature delivery and low birth weight. Pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing gum disease or worsens the condition if you already suffer from it.
Lowered Immune System
Diseases that lower your immune system (like diabetes, arthritis and lupus) can put you at higher risk of developing oral infections. Certain conditions including diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis will also first present themselves as gum disease or tooth decay.
How Do I Stay Healthy?
Practicing a strong oral hygiene routine can benefit your entire body. Include these steps into your day:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Brush your tongue and inside of your mouth afterwards
- Floss and use fluoride mouthwash once a day
- Maintain a healthy diet with limited sugar
- Visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups
- Avoid tobacco use
Reach out to your dentist if you believe you’ve developed an oral health issue.
About the Author
Dr. Samantha Amaro is committed to improving her patients’ self-esteem by helping them achieve a beautiful smile. She is a member of the Ontario Dental Association, Royal College of Dental Surgeons and Toronto Academy of Dentistry. If you have further questions about oral health tips, she can be reached through her website or at 416-285-4545.
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