Beyond a Beautiful Smile: How Healthy Gums and Teeth Impact Your Overall Health

Healthy Gums, Teeth, Health, Richard Hardt, DDS

You might consider yourself a healthy person. Maybe you exercise regularly, eat well, sleep 7-8 hours per night, meditate, and so on. But sometimes you can be blindsided by health issues  you’re not paying attention to, such as your gums and teeth.

Believe it or not, your gums and teeth say a lot about your overall health. Brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings do more than just help prevent cavities. Keeping your teeth clean can help prevent serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, respiratory infections, and diabetic complications.

Now more than ever, physicians pay attention to the connection between your oral health and possible diseases.

How does oral health relate to your overall health?

Your mouth is full of bacteria. That’s not a problem if you keep it under control. But if bacteria levels get too high, you can end up with infections, including tooth decay and gum disease.

Saliva also play a crucial role in your oral health. It helps wash away food and gets rid of bacterial acids. You should be aware that some medications can have an impact on your saliva flow. Decongestants, painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants, and antihistamines can all be problematic.

Other diseases can weaken your body’s resistance to infection, leading to more severe oral health problems.

What is the link between oral health and disease?

There was a time when physicians didn’t necessarily make a connection between gum disease and heart disease. But doctors are beginning to take a more holistic approach, paying attention to any signs that might indicate problems with other areas of the body.

There is a relationship between your oral health and disease. Don’t take the following as an  exhaustive list, but here are a few diseases in which oral health may play a part:

Diabetes

Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease, and it has been linked to diabetes. This is because the inflammation that begins in your mouth can inhibit your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Insulin turns sugar into energy, but if you have diabetes, your body probably doesn’t produce enough.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. So making sure your gums are healthy is worth your time and energy. This is especially the case since taking care of one can help you manage the other.

Heart disease

Gum disease and heart disease are so closely connected that up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis. And, they’re typically a result of an unhealthy diet, excess weight, smoking, or a combination of these.

Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and worsening oral health have something in common. Gingivitis can reach your brain through your bloodstream or nerve channels, and this can cause dementia.

Osteoporosis

Bone loss is the common ground between osteoporosis and periodontitis, though the two diseases tend to affect different bone groups. Also, osteoporosis is more common in women, while periodontitis is more common among men. There isn’t a definitive link between the two diseases, though research shows that women who have osteoporosis are more likely to have gum disease.

Do you need to get your gums and teeth checked?

Even if you think your gums and teeth are perfectly healthy, it’s worth getting a regular checkup.

If you’re ready to book an appointment, contact us. We’ll make sure your teeth and gums are healthy, and if not, we’ll help you find the right treatments.

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