Did you know that the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can directly affect your overall health? Many people do not realize that oral health provides clues about overall health and that mouth, teeth and gum issues can affect the rest of the body.
Oral Health May Affect Overall Health
A growing number of oral health professionals including orthodontists, dentists and periodontists agree that there are direct correlations between oral health and overall health. It is believed that overall health risks arise when oral bacteria reach high levels and move into other parts of the body.
There have been numerous studies conducted in recent years which have concluded that blood sugar levels in diabetics with gum disease were significantly reduced when their gum disease was treated. It has also been found that osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to lose density as the body loses calcium, may be a main cause of tooth loss. Even though more research is necessary to confirm the link between osteoporosis and gum disease, a recent study concluded that the risk of tooth loss is three times greater for women with osteoporosis.
Your oral health may affect or be affected by many conditions and diseases including not only diabetes and osteoporosis, but also cardiovascular disease, endocarditis (heart lining infection), HIV/AIDs, Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy and birth. This is why it is very important to tell your dentist and/or orthodontist about any medications you are taking, as well as about any changes in your overall health, especially if you have recently had any illness or a chronic condition.
Protecting Your Oral Health
The best way you can protect your oral health is to maintain good oral hygiene habits. You should brush your teeth at least twice per day, floss daily and be sure to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Steer clear of unhealthy, sugary snacks and see your family dentist regularly for checkups and routine cleanings. When you take good care of your oral health, you will be making a valuable investment in your overall health.
Good oral care is much more than just about teeth as it can positively affect your body’s overall health. Taking good care of your mouth, gums and teeth is a lifetime commitment and one which should never be underestimated!