The Link Between Oral Health and General Health

Not many people realise that keeping your teeth in good health will help you to keep your entire body healthy. Common health problems like gum disease can lead to other complicated health problems. Not only this, but your mouth may also highlight other health risks that may otherwise go unnoticed. This is why it’s important to get regular health checks at the dentist, as you may miss the signs of other health problems.

When you visit the dentist, they will look for a number of things depending on your individual circumstances. Your dentist will always look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, teeth grinding and overcrowding. There are also a number of health conditions that can become evident from the health of your teeth. The mouth is quite literally the window to the rest of the body, so frequent trips to the dentist and good oral hygiene can protect you against disease and help medical professionals to diagnose more complex problems early on. Here are three health conditions linked to oral health:

Gum Disease

Not many people know that gum disease places people at higher risk of a number of conditions, including heart disease, strokes and it can even trigger early labour in pregnant women. Gum disease is very common and easily treatable, provided it is caught early. The earliest stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. This causes bleeding gums and bad breath.

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a condition called periodontitis, which damaged the structures holding your teeth in place and can cause tooth loss. It is though that the increase in bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes

This one works the other way, as people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease because of poor blood glucose control. In cases where diabetes is undiagnosed, gum disease can be an indicating factor of another underlying issue. When the blood had higher than normal levels of glucose, this leads to higher than normal levels of glucose in the saliva. This provides a breeding ground for bacteria which can then attack the gums. Those with diabetes must take extra care of their teeth in order to avoid tooth loss.

Respiratory Diseases

When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, this can lead to bacteria building up in your mouth. If this is inhaled into your lungs, this can lead to respiratory problems such as pneumonia, particularly if you already have a weakened immune system. By keeping your teeth in good shape, you will also be protecting your body from infection.


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