With COVID hopefully behind us, many people are behind on their regular cleanings. Most people make the mistake of thinking that regular exams are all about “cleaning," when they’re actually important for so many other reasons. Your oral health can say a lot about your overall health, and it can also impact your health status. So how are your teeth and gums faring right now? This is what your mouth might tell you about your overall health status.
What’s the Connection Between Oral and Overall Health?
Most of the bacteria in your mouth, like other areas of the body, are pretty benign. Your mouth, however, is the gateway to your digestive and respiratory tracts, so it can also be how bad bacteria enters your body and your bloodstream. Brushing and flossing can limit bacterial growth; without it, however, bacteria levels can grow to dangerous levels, leading to negative consequences like gum disease and oral infections.
How Medications Interact
Taking medications regularly like decongestants, painkillers, antidepressants, and antihistamines can limit saliva production, which is necessary to neutralize acids and wash foods from your mouth. It works to protect your body against microbes, which can be hazardous if not kept in check.
Some studies indicate that inflammation resulting from oral infection and disease might be associated with some chronic illnesses like diabetes and HIV, and that inflammation can lower your body’s ability to fight off infection.
Conditions Might Be Linked to Your Oral Health
Poor oral health can contribute to other health conditions like:
- Cardiovascular disease – Some research suggests that clogged arteries and stroke risk might be linked to infection and inflammation in the mouth
- Endocarditis – When you have an excess of bacteria, it can spread to your bloodstream and lead to an inflammation of the inner lining of your heart’s chamber and heart valves
- Pneumonia – Your lungs can sometimes pull bacteria into your respiratory tract, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
- Birth and pregnancy complications – Periodontal disease has been linked to low birth rate and premature birth
Conditions That Might Be Hurting Your Oral Health
- Diabetes – Diabetes can hasten gum disease
- Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis can weaken the bones and lead to tooth loss. Also, the drugs often used to treat it are associated with a higher risk of damage to the jaw bones
- Alzheimer's Disease – Oral health habits decrease significantly due to the progression of the disease
When people think of oral health and physical health, they often segregate the two, but they are actually linked. If you have let your regular dental exam and cleaning fall by the wayside due to COVID, now is the time to get back on track. It is important to take care of your entire body; from head to toe. At Tatum Dentistry, we offer appointment times Monday through Saturday for your convenience! We believe in treating the whole patient, not just a part of them. Contact our cosmetic family dentist in Charleston office today to schedule your cleaning appointment!