Did you know that problems related to your oral health don’t only affect your teeth and gums, but can also affect your overall health? Oral health plays an important role in your overall wellness because it shares common factors with other vital systems. Being aware of this link is important when adopting an oral healthcare routine that goes hand-in-hand with your general healthcare.
Your mouth is a window into the rest of your body. It does far more than just serve as the first contact with nutrients. Saliva is one of the body’s first defenses against external disease-causing agents, by literally “washing them away” from your teeth and gums.
If you don’t maintain good oral health, this defense mechanism weakens and makes you vulnerable to decay, which complicates chewing and getting the nutrients that your body needs. This also makes it easy for harmful bacteria and infections to make their way into the rest of your body.
On the other hand, some systemic conditions can show their first signs through your mouth. So, even when you have good oral hygiene, if you’re noticing decay or problems in your mouth, teeth, or gums, consider a general check up.
Conditions Affected By Oral Health
- Cardiovascular disease — Heart disease and oral health share many common risk factors such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, and obesity. The connection between these two is not entirely clear, but there’s a theory that states that inflammation in the mouth somehow causes inflammation in the blood vessels, limiting the stream of blood from the heart to the rest of the body, raising blood pressure and the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Endocarditis — This is an infection that usually occurs when bacteria spreads through the bloodstream from other parts of your body (your mouth, for example), attaching to your heart chambers or valves (endocardium).
- Lung conditions — Certain bacteria in your mouth can somehow make their way to your lungs, worsening respiratory diseases like pneumonia.
- Pregnancy — The hormonal changes that women go through during pregnancy can increase the risk of getting periodontitis. Infections and inflammation in general have been proven to interfere in the development of the fetus in the womb.
At Dentistry by Angela Britt, we believe it’s important to keep our patients in Brunswick, GA educated on the importance of oral health. If you have any questions about your own dental needs, please call our office for more information.