How Oral Health Affects Overall Health

multicultural group of young women sitting and laughing outside showing healthy teeth and smiles

You might not think that there’s much of a connection between your oral health and your overall health, but the truth is they’re very closely related. Here, we explain the connection and why it’s important to have good oral hygiene to improve your overall health.

Overall Health & a Healthy Mouth: What Is the Connection?

When you think about it, your mouth is like a window into your body, and a healthy mouth is the first defense for your overall health. By maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen of regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing, you are able to keep the bacteria in your mouth at bay. But without this dental routine, that bacteria can run rampant, leading to oral problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. While these conditions are concerning on their own, they can also and lead to more serious general health conditions. The mouth is a port of entry for infections, and if you don’t care for your mouth, you are putting your overall health at risk.

Overall Health Issues Associated with Poor Oral Health

These serious health effects associated with bad oral hygiene will make you think twice about skipping brushing your teeth on those nights where you feel exhausted.

Perhaps the most serious condition, your cardiovascular health could suffer if you don’t practice good oral hygiene. When your oral health is so bad that your gums become inflamed, the bacteria from the inflammation can enter your bloodstream. When this happens, the bacteria can end up in the arteries in your heart and cause the arteries to harden. This affliction, called atherosclerosis, can lead to plaque developing on the arteries. The plaque on your arteries decreases or blocks blood flow through the body and can lead to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Bad oral health can also lead to Alzheimer’s. Bacteria from gingivitis can enter the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head.

If your oral health has gotten so bad that you have gum disease, you are at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections. When you breathe in the bacteria from your infected teeth and gums, that infection can get into your lungs and even cause pneumonia.

Inflamed gum tissue can make it harder for you to control your blood sugar too, and if you’re diabetic, this can worsen your symptoms. People with diabetes are also more susceptible to periodontal disease in the first place. This makes it especially important for them to practice good dental hygiene.

What Can You Do to Have Good Oral Health & Overall Health?

The most important thing you can do to make sure you have a healthy mouth and body is to establish good oral hygiene practices. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day – especially after meal time and before bed – floss daily, use fluoride toothpaste, rinse with mouthwash, replace your toothbrush every three to four months, and eat a healthy diet.

It’s also vital for your oral health to get regular check-ups and cleanings. Call us today to make an appointment!

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