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Little Known Conditions That Are Linked to Oral Health

Little Known Conditions That Are Linked to Oral Health

When we think of oral health, most of us think about problems like cavities or gum disease. But our oral health can have far-reaching consequences, even influencing our systemic health, as well. 

At Park Place Smiles, Minal Patel, DDS, offers comprehensive dental exams and preventive dental treatments to help patients in Glendora, California, optimize their oral health and reduce their risks of systemic health issues, too. In this post, learn how your oral health could be taking a toll on the rest of your health — and how regular dental care can help.

The oral-systemic connection

When we have a cavity, receding or bleeding gums, or other oral health problems, it’s easy to think of those problems in terms of their immediate effects, like tooth pain or gum tenderness. But the same germs that cause those problems can have negative effects on the rest of your body, too.

In fact, untreated oral health problems can take a big toll on your overall health. Having regular dental checkups is an important way to prevent those medical problems while also maintaining a beautiful smile.

Oral health issues affect your overall health in a couple of key ways. First, the germs that cause gum disease and other oral health problems can migrate into the rest of your body through your bloodstream, potentially affecting every other organ in your body.

 

Second, many oral health issues are accompanied by inflammation, another common denominator in overall health problems, too. And of course, germs that cause infection in your teeth and gums can wind up migrating to your jawbone, spreading to other areas of your body, and causing serious, life-threatening infections.

Systemic health problems

Understanding the link between your oral health and your systemic health underscores the importance of not skipping your next checkup.

Heart disease

Inflammation associated with poor oral hygiene can take a toll on your cardiovascular system, causing blood vessel problems that in turn interfere with circulatory health. When oral bacteria travel to the heart via the bloodstream, they can damage the heart’s valves, too.

Pneumonia

Oral health can affect lung health, too. If you have untreated gum disease or cavities, every breath you take can wind up carrying germs deep into your lungs, increasing your risk of pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. Research shows removing biofilm through good oral hygiene can help reduce the incidence of respiratory infections.

Diabetes

The link between poor oral health and diabetes is actually bidirectional: People with diabetes are more likely to have oral health problems, and oral health problems can make your diabetes symptoms worse. If you have diabetes, regular dental checkups are especially important for staying healthy.

Dementia

Recent research has linked gum disease with an increased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. While that link is still being studied, scientists believe it likely has to do with the inflammation that can be triggered by gum disease and other oral health problems.

Pregnancy problems

If you’re pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, untreated oral health problems can lead to complications during pregnancy and delivery. Studies show women with poorer oral health are far more likely to have premature labor than women with good oral health.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA also shares a two-way link with oral health problems. An autoimmune condition, RA can contribute to gum disease and other oral health problems. At the same time, periodontal disease may trigger RA

Make oral health a priority

Proper brushing and flossing combined with regular dental checkups can help you enjoy a healthier, more beautiful smile and better overall health, too. To schedule your next checkup, call 626-226-1802 or book an appointment online with Park Place Smiles today.

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