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How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

Oral health doesn’t stop with just your mouth. While periodontal disease is a serious thing, poor oral health can have a connection to many bigger and badder diseases throughout your whole body. Gum disease can be a red flag to underlying health problems. Research has shown that there is a link between oral health and overall wellness, such as people who have gum disease are twice as likely to die from a heart attack or have a stroke. Periodontal disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, respiratory problems, heart disease, and diabetes.

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body

Bacteria that builds up on your teeth make your gums prone to infection. When your gums are infected, they become inflamed, which activates your immune system. But if the inflammation continues this can lead to more serious problems. Chemicals and acids are released that eat away at gums and bone structure. This can quickly lead to tooth loss.

The connections between oral health and diabetes

People who are diabetic are strongly affected from periodontal disease. The hormone insulin Is necessary for the body to convert sugar into energy.  The inflammation caused by gum disease impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin, which complicates diabetes.

The connection between oral health and heart disease

Heart attacks and strokes have been linked to gum disease. When inflammation in the mouth occurs, the theory is that it causes inflammation in blood vessels. Bacteria travels through these blood vessels to the heart and to the brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.

The connection between oral health and pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can put women at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Studies have shown that bacteria from the mouth can travel through the body and affect the development of a fetus in the womb. This can cause premature birth, which leads to  problems with the baby’s lungs, heart, and learning ability.

The connection between oral health and osteoporosis

Periodontal disease causes bone loss in the jaw bone, but research has shown that it is also linked to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more common in women and affects the bones in the arms and legs. The link is not completely well established, but studies have shown that gum disease may cause the bones in other parts of the body to weaken.

The connection between oral health and smoking

The best thing you can do for the health your mouth and body is to choose not to smoke at all. People who smoke have a much higher risk of severe periodontal disease than someone who does not. Nicotine has a restricting effect on the blood vessel, which interferes with your mouth's ability to fight infection. Smoking also interferes with dental treatments, surgeries are more complicated and recovery is more problematic.

Other conditions that have been linked to gum disease are lung conditions, such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity. The bottom line is that your mouth can affect your body and your body can affect your mouth. They act as a team and taking care of both is important.

Having good oral health can be the reason you live longer. Brush at least twice a day, floss, and have regular checkups. Your mouth and body will thank you.