The connection between dental health and overall health has been well-established. Research has shown that poor oral health is linked to diabetes, premature birth, heart disease, and more medical conditions. But, the good news is, together with your dentist and dental hygienist, you can protect your overall health by practicing great oral care.
Oral Health and Overall Health
Every day you brush and floss to keep your mouth clean, but it is not just about keeping tooth decay and bad breath away. Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. It demonstrates your internal health. Chronic diseases like diabetes may be detected because of oral conditions. Mouth bacteria is responsible for cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease, but periodontal disease is possibly connected to stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Periodontal Conditions and Your Health
Early gum disease is known as gingivitis but left untreated it can develop into more serious periodontitis. Gingivitis is reversible if the plaque buildup is removed with daily brushing and flossing, and professional teeth cleanings. If the problem is not treated, the infection can set in-between teeth and form gum pockets around them. Although advanced gum disease is not usually painful, it can be very destructive to teeth, gums and the underlying bone; progression can lead to tooth loss and bone loss. However, research has suggested that advanced periodontal diseases can affect overall health as well.
Periodontitis and the Mouth & Body Connection
Medical disorders such as HIV and AIDS, blood cell conditions, and diabetes damage the immune system, leaving the body more susceptible to infection. This can make periodontitis more likely and more severe. The constant inflammation from periodontal disease can lead to blocked arteries, stroke and heart disease. Periodontitis is very common in diabetes patients. This group is at a much higher risk of developing severe periodontal disease than non-diabetics.
Although late stage gum disease is linked to these medical disorders, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one health concern leads to another. However, it is clear that smokers and diabetics are most likely to develop periodontitis.