Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body: How Oral Health Affects Overall Health
Everyone who’s visited the dentist or watched a toothpaste ad knows brushing and flossing are important for preserving oral health, maintaining healthy gums, and keeping teeth well into old age. But more and more research is revealing an actual connection between oral health and overall health, meaning there are more reasons than ever to practice impeccable oral hygiene by brushing, flossing, and keeping regular dental visits.
Potential Links Between Oral Health and Overall Health
There appears to be a clear link between patients with periodontal (gum) disease or periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease) and certain systemic diseases (illnesses affecting the entire body) and other conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Bacterial Pneumonia
- Preterm Pregnancies and Low Birth Weights
What Does Periodontal Disease Have to Do with These Problems?
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, which left untreated can lead to increased bacteria in the blood, blood infections, and organ damage.
The exact link between periodontal disease and these conditions is not yet clear. For example, researchers don’t yet know whether inflammation caused by periodontal disease aggravates heart health or if it’s diabetes that increases the risk of periodontal disease. The numbers, however, are clear. Individuals with the above-listed conditions more often suffer from periodontal disease than others.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
The following signs and symptoms could indicate periodontal disease:
- Bleeding induced by brushing or flossing
- Swollen, tender, or red gums
- Gums which have pulled away from teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Changed bite or teeth alignment
Schedule a Check Up and Cleaning Today
Although more research is needed to understand exactly how and why oral health seems to be linked to so many systemic conditions, the apparent correlation cannot be ignored. To preserve your health and your teeth, you should brush and floss regularly and visit a dentist for a professional examination and cleaning one to two times every 12 months (unless otherwise directed by a healthcare professional).
Schedule a comprehensive dental exam and teeth cleaning at Dr. Christopher J. Fotinos today. We focus on preventative care, providing patients with the oral care they need to prevent more serious problems before they start. If you’ve already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, Dr. Fotinos will establish an individualized treatment plan to stop periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease) in its tracks. Contact our office to schedule an appointment today!