More and more scientific studies are revealing that there are direct links between dental health and your overall health.
Did you know that the mortality rate for mouth cancer is higher than that of many other more well-known cancers such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, brain cancer, cancer of the liver, testes, kidney or skin cancer? In some cases, the first sign of an illness is detected in your mouth. And in other instances, periodontal disease can create potentially hazardous issues in other areas of your body.
Did you know that gum disease can let bacteria enter your bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere in your body? Your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Usually we keep these bacteria under control with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing. However, periodontal disease may allow bacteria into your bloodstream more easily. Medications or treatments that give you “dry mouth” disrupt your mouth’s natural balance and this too may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Many researchers believe that bacteria and inflammation from your mouth are linked to other health problems in the rest of your body.
Here’s a look at other diseases and conditions that appear to be increasingly linked to oral health:
- Cardiovascular disease
Scientific studies have shown that heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis may be linked to oral health. Researchers believe that gum disease allows bacteria into your bloodstream, which then takes the bacteria to your heart.
- Pregnancy and birth
Gum disease has been linked to premature birth. It’s best to see your dentist if you are planning to get pregnant. Having proper dental health can be another way to ensure you have a healthy baby.
Diabetes has been linked to periodontal disease and researchers believe that there is a link with poor dental health and an increase in the need for higher insulin doses.
With HIV/AIDS, oftentimes the first indication that you have this infection is in your mouth with severe infections.
Many times, if you are suffering from bone loss, your dentist can detect this with a set of dental x-rays. Maintaining proper dental health can give you an idea of what is happening elsewhere in your body, giving you the knowledge to seek medical care if necessary.
- Other conditions
Sjogren’s syndrome, certain cancers, eating disorders, syphilis, gonorrhea and substance abuse can sometimes be detected from a dental examination.
So, what can you do about your oral health?
Taking good care of your mouth and teeth is a building block and a necessary piece to taking care of all of you. We’d like to be a part of giving you the best health you can possible enjoy.