How Oral Health Impacts Your General Health

From a very young age, we have been trained to brush and floss our teeth at least two times a day.  There also arose the tradition that if we behaved well and followed our parents’ instructions, then we would receive some type of reward.  On the other hand, if we failed to do that, then that reward would be snatched away from us.  Hence, right from our childhood it was ingrained in our daily routine that the brushing and flossing of teeth was of the utmost importance. This is because if we did not take good care of our teeth, then several problems would arise.  For instance, our teeth and gums would not develop properly and other oral diseases could cause issues.

However, the truth is that our oral health extends well beyond our teeth. This is because failure to take care of our mouth can result in our overall health being affected as well. If this is something that persists for an extended period of time, then it can cause severe problems in the long run. Now that would definitely not be something any one of us would like to experience.

In order to motivate ourselves to take better care of our teeth, it is a good idea to closely examine how oral health impacts our overall health:

Diabetes

While it is common news that people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, new reports have discovered that serious gum disease could actually contribute to diabetes, as it tends to affect the blood glucose levels.  Since periodontal disease is an infection, the bacteria produce toxins that affects the carbohydrate metabolism in individual cells. It has also been thought that the response of the host to periodontal bacteria could increase insulin resistance, which, in turn, could increase the blood glucose levels. In other words, this is something which could work as a wakeup call in both ways.  With the rate of diabetes being on the rise, there is no better time to take care of your teeth as well as your health.

Lung Infections

Another major consequence of periodontal disease is that it results in numerous amounts of bacteria breeding in your mouth. This can result in lung infection, as you are more likely to inhale germs. So for those people suffering from pre-existing lung problems, gum disease can just make the whole situation much more severe.

Pregnancy and Your Baby

Pregnancy is considered to be one of the most important moments in a woman’s life. In addition to the physical demands, the woman is also taking on new roles and responsibilities. That is why it is considered to be of utmost importance that expecting mothers take especially good care of themselves. This should be true not only in their case, but also for their unborn child as well.
That is why when you hear that bad oral health could cause problems in pregnancy as well, you might be surprised.  After all, how could this sort of a relationship develop.  Simply put, studies have shown that pregnant women with progressive gum disease would be more likely to develop gestational diabetes, have a low-birth-weight baby, or even deliver prematurely.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that pregnant women schedule regular checkups with their hygienist and dentist. This helps ensure that the woman is not suffering from poor oral health, which can adversely affect the baby. In addition, it has been discovered that babies with a low birth weight or those that were born prematurely tend to have a higher risk of complications. Some of the most common side effects include asthma, developmental problems, higher risk of infant death, and behavioral difficulties. This is why women who are pregnant should take good care of their health, both for themselves and their babies.

Teeth Grinding and Joint Health

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, seems to be a quite common problem in people of all ages. While there are several causes that could be attributed to it, in many cases the severity has been found to be mild.  However, severe cases of teeth grinding have been discovered to aggravate the joints in your lower jaw. This is also known as temporomandibular joints, or TMJ.  This often leads to tightness in the joint area, along with headaches and earaches.

On the other hand, bruxism has been found to be bad for your teeth as well. This is because the constant grinding of your teeth wears down your enamel, resulting in broken or chipped teeth and increased sensitivity of the teeth.

Cancer and Smoking

While smoking has been linked to increased rates of cancer, it has been found to be bad for your teeth as well. This means that the threat of missing your teeth might be motivation enough to not pick up your next pack of cigarettes. In addition, it often leads to your teeth becoming decayed or yellow and results in bad breath.

Health of Your Tongue and Germs

When undergoing a deep examination of your tongue, you certainly might find it to be covered in tiny bumps, also known as papillae. These germs often become trapped on the tongue, affecting your sense of taste and also causing bad breath. The worst part is that this bacteria can travel to other parts of your mouth. Over time, the overgrowth of bacteria can turn your tongue, white, yellow, or even black.  That is why you should incorporate tongue-cleaning, along with the daily habit of brushing your teeth. While you should be able to use the back of your toothbrush to get the job done, a tongue cleaner can also be helpful.

These are a few of the most significant ways in which your oral health tends to impact your overall general health. Hopefully this provides enough motivation to start brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day!

The good news is that Dr. Elizabeth Perez has been providing quality dental care to residents of Brandon for 11 years and is considered a leading dentist in Brandon.  We encourage you to contact our dental office to schedule your next teeth cleaning and ask about our specials.  We look forward to helping you and your family maintain good overall health!