If you have an overall health concern, such as cardiovascular disease or an infection in the lining of the heart (endocarditis), then the cause may be from poor oral health. Dentists and researchers have known for years that there is a connection between oral and overall health. However, how closely are they related? In this blog, we will talk about how your oral and overall health is connected, common body diseases that are related to the mouth, and how you can prevent disease in your mouth and body.
How is my Oral and Overall Health Connected?
Many people consider the mouth as the window to the body’s health. The mouth is an important portal of entry where numerous bacteria enter. Not all bacteria is bad. It is healthy to have ‘normal bacteria’. Actually, transient and opportunistic pathogenic bacteria are the main types that cause disease. If you fail to develop a good oral health routine, it is easier for disease-causing bacteria in your mouth. Then, as you may have guessed, the bacteria from your mouth then makes its way into your body, infecting other areas.
Medications can also cause dry mouth which can lead to a build-up of disease-causing bacteria in your mouth. How does this happen? If you take medications such as antidepressants, decongestants, painkillers, dietetics, or antihistamines, then your saliva production decreases, therefore reducing the fluid in your mouth to rinse your teeth of bacteria. There is no need to stop taking these medications. Instead, remember to stay hydrated when you take medicine to avoid dry mouth. Sugar-free gum is also a great way to stimulate saliva production and reduce the build-up of bacteria.
What diseases are related to poor oral health?
If you have a poor oral health routine you are at an increased risk to develop a number of life-threatening diseases such as endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. When you do not take care of your oral health, then disease-causing bacteria can accumulate in your mouth, travel through the bloodstream, and cause an infection. In endocarditis, an infection from bacteria in the bloodstream can begin in the inner lining of the heart. Common symptoms of endocarditis are fever, chills, and fatigue and it can be treated with an antibiotic.
However, bad bacteria can cause inflammation and plaque build-up in your blood vessels, which can lead to stroke, clogged arteries, and heart disease. This ailment, cardiovascular disease, is serious and should be treated right away. If you are pregnant, you are also at an increased risk for developing periodontal, also called gum disease. If you have periodontitis while pregnant, you could put your baby at a higher risk of premature birth and lower birth weight. Other conditions that could be related to disease-causing oral bacteria are diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Good oral health can lead to better overall health. It is important to develop a good oral health routine of the bushing for two minutes once per day and flossing once per day to avoid a build-up of disease-causing bacteria. This will lead to better overall health. For more information about oral and overall health or to plan your next visit with Dr. Cox at Cox Family Dentistry in Plano, Texas call (972)-468-8692, today!