Research has been proving just how much your oral health is connected to the rest of your body. This science shows that poor oral health can affect your entire body and actually increase your risk for chronic diseases and common illnesses. This is because the bacteria and plaque that are involved in poor dental health can gain access to the rest of your body and influence major organs such as the heart, brain, and even the lungs. How does poor oral health affect the health of your body?
Plaque Plays a Role in Heart Disease
The plaque that plays a crucial role in oral diseases such as gum disease and tooth decay causes inflammation in your mouth. This same plaque has actually been found in the plaque that’s responsible for clogging the arteries—a condition also known as arteriosclerosis. These bacteria can not only cause hardened arterial plaque and inflammation, but it can also be taxing on the heart, making it work harder to pump blood through restricted arteries. This increases your risk for heart disease, which could lead to a heart attack or a stroke!
Diabetes Increases Risk for Gum Disease
If you have gum disease, this means your gums are inflamed and you may experience symptoms such as bleeding or tender gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. When diabetes is present and unmanaged or poorly managed, blood sugar levels can increase your risk for gum disease and tooth loss. The better controlled your diabetes is, the less risk you have for gum disease. If you have undiagnosed diabetes or blood sugar problems, see your doctor—diabetes treatment could help your oral health and prevent gum disease!
Inflammation Influences Cognitive Decline
The same bacteria that are involved in the inflammation of the gums that is characteristic of gum disease can end up in your brain and influence cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s! Researchers have linked rapid cognitive decline with the presence of gum disease in patients with Alzheimer’s. This research supports the notion that chronic inflammation in the body can affect the entire system—even the brain and cognitive performance in people with preexisting cognitive decline.
Bacteria Cause Upper Respiratory Illness
Upper respiratory infections such as pneumonia or the common cold are more common in people who have poor oral health! Experts reason that the introduction of poor mouth bacteria into the lungs from breathing could cause the inflammation and illness associated with upper respiratory problems. Keeping your mouth clean and free of plaque could result in less instances of the cold or upper respiratory illness throughout your life!
One part of your body is not separate from the other. By taking great care of your mouth, you can help to influence a healthy body! Simply by brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist can improve your chances for avoiding diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and sicknesses like pneumonia. You can also help keep your mouth healthy by better managing your diabetes. Your dental health affects more than just your smile—visit your dentist to learn more about how you can keep your mouth and body healthy for life!