How Oral Health Affects Overall Health

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You might not think that your oral health and your overall health are closely related, but it turns out that the healthier your mouth is, the healthier you are in general.

What’s the Connection Between a Healthy Mouth & a Healthy Body?

Your mouth is a window to your overall health, and a healthy mouth is the first defense for a healthy body. Without a proper oral hygiene regimen, the bacteria that’s in your mouth – which regular flossing and brushing keeps at bay – can run rampant. This can lead to oral issues such as tooth decay and gum disease. While these are concerns in and of themselves, they can also lead to much more serious medical conditions. Because the mouth is a port of entry for infections, if you don’t care for your mouth, you are putting your overall health at risk, as well.

What Are Some Health Issues Associated with Bad Oral Health?

There are some incredibly serious health issues that are associated with poor oral health, which should make you think twice about skipping the floss.

One of the most severe is cardiovascular disease. When you have bad oral health, the bacteria from your inflamed gums can enter your bloodstream and make its way to the arteries in the heart, causing a hardening of the arteries called atherosclerosis. This can then cause plaque to develop on the arteries, which decreases or blocks blood flow through the body and leads to an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.

Gum disease can also lead to respiratory infections. When you breathe in the bacteria from your infected teeth and gums, you could get an infection in your lungs, even pneumonia.

Those with poor oral health could also develop Alzheimer’s as the bacteria from gingivitis can enter the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head.

Finally, inflamed gum tissue can make it harder for you to control your blood sugar. If you’re diabetic, this can worsen your symptoms. Those with diabetes are also more susceptible to periodontal disease, so practicing good oral hygiene is vital.

What Can You Do?

The most important thing you can do is establish good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals; floss daily; eat a healthy diet; use fluoride toothpaste; and replace your toothbrush every three to four months or so.

Beyond home dental care, make sure you’re coming in for regular checkups and cleanings. At Bozeman Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy smile. Call us to make an appointment today!