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How Your Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Health

You probably do things that will improve your health: You exercise regularly, eat your veggies, take any prescription medications your doctor has recommended, and get enough sleep. Did you know, however, that brushing and flossing your teeth are important not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well? If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you could be negatively impacting more than just your smile. Read on to find out how your dental health regimen could be affecting other parts of your health, as well as how your overall health could be impacting your teeth and gums.

Problems From Bacteria Overgrowth

If you don’t brush or floss well, or if you have cavities that aren’t taken care of, you could end up with an overabundance of bacteria in your mouth. The signs of this happening include swollen gums, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. If you don’t get that addressed, it’s possible that the bacteria will move into your bloodstream, where it can cause a host of problems. You could end up with a septic infection if the bacteria overload is severe. If you have heart problems, rheumatoid arthritis, or an artificial joint, bacteria can settle in these areas and cause infections around the heart or in the joints.

Malnutrition

If your teeth are crumbling and your mouth is painful, it’s likely that you will not be able to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables that you need for good health. One problem with neglecting your teeth and gums is that your mouth will not work the way it needs to when it comes to chewing and swallowing food. You might make small changes in your diet that you think won’t make a difference, but over time, a lack of nutrition can build up. If you have noticed yourself changing your diet to accommodate a sore tooth or difficulty chewing, this is a sign that you should see your dentist promptly.

Problems With Your Teeth Caused by Health Problems

The relationship between your oral health and the rest of your health goes both ways. If you have diabetes, for example, you might be more prone to gum and tooth infections. People with cancer who take chemotherapy often find that their dental health suffers as a result. Pregnancy or even monthly hormone fluctuations can cause gingivitis in women. If you have any health issues or hormonal changes, talk to your dentist about ways you can preserve your oral health.

Remember that your teeth and gums are vital parts of your body and that most body systems work hand in hand. If you are concerned about your oral health, make an appointment with your dentist to have your questions answered and to develop a treatment plan, if needed.

Creative Commons image by Moyan Brenn.