It may surprise you to learn that oral health problems can be related to health problems in other parts of your body. Here, our Ottawa dentists describe how your oral health can impact your overall health.
An unhealthy mouth can include a number of issues, such as gum or periodontal disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, mouth sores and plaque buildup. These are all related to the presence of bacteria in your mouth, and this bacteria can also affect other parts of your body.
Medical Conditions & Your Oral Health
In some cases, bacteria in your mouth can result in the following medical conditions:
When you have dental cavities and periodontal (gum) disease, you are constantly inhaling the bacteria from the decayed teeth and infected gums. This can lead to respiratory tract infections, pneumonia and pulmonary diseases.
Diabetes sufferers have an increased risk of gum disease as a result of a compromised immune system. This makes them more susceptible to bacterial infections. In turn, a patient with severe gum disease may have a higher chance of developing diabetes, because periodontal inflammation can negatively affect glycaemic control.
The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream, travel to the arteries in the heart, and cause hardening of the arteries. This can decrease or even block blood flow through the body. In turn, a higher risk of heart attack or stroke may result. The inner lining of the heart can also become infected and inflamed as a result of these bacteria, resulting in a condition known as endocarditis.
Prevention & Management
The best way to keep your mouth healthy and prevent your oral health from affecting the rest of your body is a good preventive oral hygiene routine, combined with regular visits to the dentist and oral maintenance.
Brush your teeth twice a day, every day, and floss at least once a day (ideally before going to bed). Visit your dentist regularly (as prescribed), and get any developing oral health problems treated before they become serious.