Healthy mouth, healthy body.
The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health. Oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath. There are a number of links between oral health and overall health. The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall physical health.
Oral Health and Diabetes
Type 2 diabetics have an increased incidence of periodontitis, or gum disease. While more research is needed before doctors can conclude that gum disease actually leads to diabetes, there are already a few theories about why this might be the case. One proposes that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, they can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn wreaks havoc on your sugar-processing abilities.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
As with diabetes, the connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular conditions has been recognized — the two are often found together — but it still hasn’t been determined conclusively whether or not there is a direct causal relationship between them. “Bad” bacteria from an infected mouth may lodge itself inside blood vessels, ultimately causing dangerous blockages. Strengthening his theory is the fact that when scientists have looked at atherosclerotic blood vessels, they have sometimes found fragments of periodontal bacteria. Meanwhile, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 established that aggressive treatment of gum disease reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis within six months.
Pregnancy Complications and Gum Disease
For many pregnant women, gum infections stem from the fluctuating hormone levels that come with pregnancy. Others neglect their oral care during pregnancy, since they have much on their minds. Calcium to the mother can be depleted during a pregnancy as it is being pulled by the fetus. Scientists believe that gum disease or inflammation in the mouth possibly triggers an increase in a chemical compound called prostaglandin, which induces early labor. Regular dental visits are imperative to maintain dental health during a woman’s pregnancy.