The Link Between Your Mouth and Overall Body

The Link Between Your Mouth and Overall Body

Apr 18, 2023

Excellent oral hygiene plays a huge role in keeping your mouth functional, beautiful, and free of cavities, decay, and gum infections. But many people don’t know oral health is vital for overall health and well-being.

Your oral and overall body are connected, meaning problems with your gums and teeth can affect your overall health and vice versa. For instance, untreated periodontal infections can lead to serious cardiovascular issues like a heart attack. Read on to learn how oral health affects overall health.

Why is Oral Health Important?

Good oral hygiene and health are important for a fully functional and beautiful smile. Inadequate oral hygiene and care can result in mild to severe dental conditions like:

  • Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis)
  • Tooth erosion and fractures
  • Teeth yellowing
  • Teeth sensitivity and tooth decay
  • Oral thrush (fungal infections)

These oral conditions can result in various oral symptoms like teeth, jaw, head, or face pain, bruxism and TMJ disorders, impaired bite and speech function, cosmetic issues, and low self-esteem. These issues can harm your mental, physical, and emotional health.

The relationship between oral health and general well-being

While your mouth might feel separate from the rest of your body, it isn’t. Instead, your mouth is simply an extension of your body. When your mouth is unhealthy, you’re at a greater risk of:

  • Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases refer to conditions related to the heart and blood vessels. According to research, periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream to the heart, putting you at a greater risk of cardiovascular problems like:

  • Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis). Studies have shown that people with gum disease have a higher rate of clogged arteries. It happens when plaque buildup inside blood vessels transports blood and oxygen from the heart to the body.
  • Coronary artery disease. The narrowing/blockage of the coronary arteries results from plaque buildup. It can lead to heart failure, heart attack, strokes, and death.
  • Endocarditis

Severe tooth infections or decay can expose the capillaries near a tooth’s root to harmful oral bacteria. Consequently, these infectious bacteria spread through the bloodstream to the heart, where they can overgrow and multiply to cause toxins that cause endocarditis. Your risk of endocarditis is higher if you have existing heart problems.

  • Pregnancy and birth complications

Excellent oral hygiene is critical when you’re pregnant. Pregnancy increases your risk of oral issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Consequently, these oral problems can lead to pregnancy complications like miscarriages, stillbirth, low birth weight, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia.

  • Pneumonia

Studies have linked dental caries or decay to an increased risk of pneumonia, a serious and life-threatening lung infection caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the airway into the lungs causing pneumonia and other lung problems.

How does overall health affect your mouth?

The oral-systemic link also works in reverse. Just like poor oral health can cause medical conditions, certain health conditions can also affect your oral health. These include:

  • Diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to a dry mouth and increased sugars in saliva, increasing your risk of oral infections like periodontal disease.
  • Osteoporosis. Studies show that low bone minerals can lead to jawbone loss and jaw disorders.
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Common Risk Factors to Avoid

It’s worth noting that oral and systematic conditions can share several risk factors, including:

  • High stress and depression
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol abuse
  • Poor lifestyle and diet high in sugars and processed foods

The importance of oral hygiene for overall health

Brushing twice daily for at least 2 minutes and flossing daily can help keep your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and lower. Excellent oral hygiene helps wash away bacteria, plaque, and other debris that cause oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease. When your teeth, gums, and mouth are healthy, your risk of health conditions is significantly reduced. Routine dental checkups and cleanings can help maintain optimal oral and overall health.

Are You Looking for a Family Dentist in Weymouth, MA?

Do you have more questions about oral health and overall health connection? Or do you need dental treatments for existing oral issues? Contact Weymouth Dental Associates to book your appointment with our best dentist near you.

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