How Oral Health Affects Overall Health

Wellness Wednesday: Fitness, lifestyle, and general health tips and news. Because we want you to be the best you.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Floss before brushing. Make scheduled visits to the dentist.

We know the necessary steps for taking care of our teeth but often neglect to do them. Does it matter if we brush only in the mornings or forget to floss? We may not want to admit it but yes.

The fact is poor dental hygiene will eventually lead to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss.

While more research is needed, recent studies have shown a link between gum disease and the following health conditions (Keep in mind that a link between an oral health infection and a health condition does not mean one causes the other.).

Heart disease and stroke: Oral bacteria buildup can cause inflammation and infections that may be linked to heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries.

Endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart, endocarditis occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body, such as the mouth, travel through the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart.  

Diabetes: Known to lower the body’s resistance to infection, diabetes may increase the risk of gum disease. Those who have diabetes have been found to suffer severe cases of gum disease at higher rates. Research has also shown those with gum disease struggle to control blood sugar levels.

HIV infections and AIDS: Also known to reduce body’s ability to resist infection, HIV and AIDS have been shown to exacerbate oral health problems.

Preterm and/or low-weight babies: Pregnant women with periodontitis are at greater risk of giving birth to preterm and/or underweight babies.

Achieving optimal oral health starts with preventive care. In addition to brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily, limit snack intake and get routine dental checkups to reduce any risks of oral infections and possibly, heart disease. 



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