It’s not a secret to anyone that all parts of our bodies are connected. It’s possible to have symptoms in a place of your body completely different from the one where the root of the cause is. And just like that, the condition of your dental health can be a sign of another disease and it could impact your overall health as well. Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body, so you should take care of them immediately, no matter how insignificant they seem.
Bacteria are all over your body including your mouth. Normally, your body has natural defense mechanisms that fight bacteria. Also, good oral health care keeps it under control. However, if you don’t take good care of your oral hygiene, bacteria can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease.
Besides oral hygiene, certain medications can also affect your teeth and gums. Painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can reduce saliva. This is crucial because saliva washes away food particles from your teeth and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria that destroy your enamel.
Bad oral health can lead to various conditions and diseases that are not connected to your mouth. Some of them are the following:
Some research shows that inflammation and gum disease caused by oral bacteria can be linked to heart disease, strokes, and clogged arteries.
Endocarditis is a heart disease caused by an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It occurs when bacteria and germs spread through your bloodstream and attach to weaker or damaged areas in your heart. Such bacteria can easily come through your gums if they are infected, swollen or bleeding.
Bacteria from your infected gums can enter not only your bloodstreams but also your brain through the nerve channels. This could lead to the development of brain diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The infections in your gums could lead to respiratory infections and even pneumonia. Even though it seems like the two cannot be connected, breathing in bacteria in a long period of time can affect your lungs badly.
People who already suffer from diabetes may notice some complication if they get inflamed gums and periodontitis. Gum inflammation can make it even harder to control the levels of blood sugar and can worsen the diabetes symptoms. Besides that, people who have diabetes are more prone to gingivitis and periodontitis and should take even better care of their dental health to avoid such problems.
As your dental health and your overall health are mutually connected, there are not only diseases caused by poor oral health but also there are conditions that cause bad oral health. Some of those are below:
As we already saw diabetes is surely linked to your mouth. Diabetes can reduce your body’s resistance to infection. This can lead to gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis or can cause complications if you already suffer from that. Research shows that people who have diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum diseases. Often this condition is also more severe for people whose blood sugar levels are irregular.
Osteoporosis affects your bones and makes them weak, brittle and easier to break. This can lead to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. After all teeth structure is similar to the bones’ so it makes sense. Besides that, medications used to treat osteoporosis may cause damage to the bones of the jaw and teeth.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to gum diseases and often suffer from periodontitis. It’s very important to take good care of your teeth during pregnancy because periodontal problems have been linked to premature birth and even low birth weight.
People who have HIV/AIDS have weakened immune systems. This makes it difficult to fight bacteria and is more acceptable to other diseases. Oral problems like lesions, infected gum tissue, and tooth decay are more common in people who suffer from HIV/AIDS.
As we already mentioned, bad oral health can be the reason for mental diseases like Alzheimer’s. However, according to research, as Alzheimer’s disease progresses with time, the oral health of the patients also gets worse.
Clearly, many serious conditions are linked to your oral health. Besides the ones we already listed, eating disorders and rheumatoid arthritis can also make your teeth and gums weaker.
Because everything in our body is connected, it’s important, to be honest with your physician and with your dentist about all the symptoms you are experiencing as they can be a sign of another underlying problem.
In fact, gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition but it doesn’t seem like we pay enough attention to the possible diseases it can lead to. Our mouth is the portal of entry for the vital minerals and vitamins we need to be healthy and strong. But extremely harmful bacteria can also enter there if there is inflammation and can go to our lungs, nerves, and bloodstream. This way bacteria can move to vital organs of our body like our brain or heart.
According to scientists, people with gum disease are twice more likely to get a heart attack and three times more likely to have a stroke compared to people with healthy gums.
Although most people know that poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities, few know the scarier possible consequences. We should be more aware of that and we should take care of every part of our bodies. So when we brush our teeth next time we can think about the fact that we are not only saving our teeth from cavities but possibly our lives.
As any dentist would advise you brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can keep your teeth strong and healthy. Having a healthy diet that gives your body all the essentials minerals and micronutrients it needs can also do wonders for your oral and overall health. However, you should also visit your dentist once every 6 months for deep cleaning and consultation. Because even the best care you take at home cannot replace the professional opinion of your dentist.