The Mouth Body Connection
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Everyone knows that it’s good to brush your teeth in order to prevent gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other dental problems. But did you know that your oral health is directly related to your overall health? Studies show that poor oral health is associated with a variety of more serious health concerns including cardiovascular disease, stroke, respiratory infections, breast cancer, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, preeclampsia and pre-term labor.
Until recently, scientists were not sure whether these health problems were simply more common in people with poor dental health or an actual consequence of periodontal disease and other oral health issues. Recent research has established that inflammation and bacteria in the mouth and gums can cause thickening of the arteries, an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and a variety of other health concerns. In fact, poor dental hygiene can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease by 70%.
Chronic inflammation from periodontitis also plays a serious role in the development of other sytemic health problems. Cosmetic dentist Jennifer Jablow explains, “Swollen gums are a sign of inflammation which can indicate that an inflammatory process can be affecting the rest of the body. Chronic inflammation puts us at higher risk for stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and premature births.”
Proper Oral Hygiene
The best way to take care of your oral health is practicing proper dental hygiene:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Brush your teeth twice each day
- Clean between your teeth with floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash every day
- Visit your dentist and hygienist every six months for checkups and cleanings
Dental Symptoms You Should Not Ignore
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:
- Tooth pain or increased sensitivity to heat or cold
- Puffy gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, pus on the gums or gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- White spots on your teeth
- Loose teeth or changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Persistent bad breath
By taking good care of your teeth, you can reduce your risk for many chronic health problems and ensure a long, healthy life.