How Your Oral Health Affects Total Health

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Your health is important to you. Eating right and working out have long been the obvious solution to keeping your body in good shape and ensuring many quality years ahead of you, but did you know that in addition to eating right and working out, your oral health plays a part in your overall health?

Many of today’s most common diseases are closely linked to poor oral hygiene and can be prevented or at least managed through a combination of medications and lifestyle changes that include an oral hygiene routine that promises healthy teeth and a healthy body.

Gum Disease

One of the most common causes of tooth loss, gum disease occurs in three stages, with each one getting progressively worse over time. The first stage, gingivitis, can actually be reversed if caught early enough. It’s marked by bleeding and inflamed gums. However, the latter two stages cannot be reversed and lead to infection and decay.

The key to preventing this disease, which is linked to diabetes and heart disease, is good oral hygiene. By brushing regularly, flossing once a day, and getting into the dentist for twice-yearly cleanings. These cleanings are particularly important because they allow the doctor to keep an eye out for any changes that aren’t visible to you.

If the disease progresses to stage two or three, it can be managed through regular visits to your dentist and a clear oral hygiene plan that he develops. Oftentimes at the later stage, some reconstructive work is needed to bring your mouth back to natural function.

The Connection Between Gum Disease/Heart Disease

There’s mounting research that has proven the relationship between heart disease and gum disease. While the cause and effect aren’t completely clear, we do know that those who have gum disease are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

The current thought is that the inflammation caused by gum disease transfers to other parts of the body, including the heart. And your heart likely becomes inflamed because of the transfer of the plaque in your mouth to your arteries.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

While poor oral hygiene isn’t linked to the development of diabetes, those with diabetes need to take good care of their teeth because they already have a weakened immune system. Because people with diabetes cannot control their blood sugar, developing gum disease is particularly problematic as it causes blood sugar levels to rise. If a person has uncontrolled diabetes this is even a bigger issue.

If you have questions about the link between your oral health and overall health, contact us. We’d be happy to discuss this and any other concerns with you.

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