Did you know investing in your oral health impacts your overall well-being? Believe it or not, there’s a connection between the problems you may experience in your mouth and the rest of your body. Here are seven ways caring for your dental health can improve your general wellness.
Understanding Gum Disease
Periodontal or gum disease can cause significant health issues. Researchers found that people with gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to suffer a stroke.
Why is periodontal disease so severe, leading to such risky health complications? Most individuals are unaware they even have gum disease. The mouth can serve as an easy entry for infection, allowing bacteria into your bloodstream and inflammation into your brain or heart. However, securing dental insurance and attending routine dental inspections can ensure your teeth are professionally clean and you’re protected from gum disease.
What Conditions Are Linked to Gum Disease?
Having good oral health and reducing the spread of periodontal disease can help limit the development or worsening of the following conditions:
Endocarditis is a condition where the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves becomes inflamed due to bacteria or germs. It’s life-threatening if not treated quickly. However, it can be managed with medication or treated with surgery.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease
Research has found individuals with bleeding gums or loosening ligaments between gums and teeth are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive age-related issues. Additionally, people who’ve lost a high number of teeth due to poor oral health show more signs of developing this condition.
Your mouth serves as the entry point for infection. If you have gum disease, you can easily transmit specific bacteria to your lungs, spreading pneumonia. This illness can be hazardous for people under 2 or over 65.
4. Pregnancy and Birth Complications
Approximately 75% of all pregnant women have gingivitis, the beginning stage of periodontal disease. Gum disease can negatively impact pregnancy, leading to preterm birth or low birth-weight babies. Additionally, you could transmit cavity-causing bacteria to your child after delivery.
See your dentist for routine cleanings to prevent gum disease and cavities during pregnancy. It’s best for your health and the wellness of your child.
Research shows there is a significant relationship between gum disease and diabetes. People with this condition appear to experience gum disease more frequently than those who don’t have it. Additionally, those with periodontal disease struggle to regulate their blood sugar levels — a crucial factor in managing diabetes. Be sure to seek routine dental care to oversee your health.
HIV-positive individuals must be highly diligent about oral health. Avoiding gum disease is crucial for all people, but the development of necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis can sometimes signal an individual’s deteriorating immune system. Common symptoms include ulcers and spontaneous bleeding gums. To avoid this severe periodontal disease, continue routine dental care and see your dentist regularly.
Osteoporosis affects half of all adults 65 years and older, while periodontal disease impacts half of the adults nationwide. Osteoporosis can be found in all the bones in your body, including your jaw. Periodontal disease can cause your gums to inflame or recede, weakening your jaw. When your jaw bone density is compromised, you can lose your teeth prematurely.
Be aware of the risks osteoporosis can pose, especially if you are over 65. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and do regular weight-training exercises. Additionally, routinely see your dentist for oral health care.
How to Protect Your Oral Health
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from gum disease is finding a dentist and seeing them for routine cleanings every six months. Protect your overall health in these additional ways:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Try using fluoride toothpaste and brushing for two minutes at a time.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing to remove any food or bacteria from your mouth.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day in the evening.
- Replace your toothbrush after three months of use. You can do this sooner if you notice your bristles look worn.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and multigrains. Limit sugary beverages and foods.
- Do not use tobacco products.
- Contact your dentist if you notice your gums are swollen, red or hurting.
Focus on All Areas of Your Health
Remember, there’s a connection between your oral health and overall wellness. Brush and floss every day to care for your teeth and safeguard the rest of your body.