Why Are Teeth Important to Overall Health?
The relationship between dental health and overall health is a street that runs both ways. Problems stemming from poor oral care can sometimes result in serious health problems.
At the same time, dental professionals are often the first to detect medical conditions seemingly unrelated to oral care because of the specific ways those conditions impact teeth and gums.
Poor Dental Health Can Lead to Other Problems
Along with regular check-ups, it’s crucial to practice good dental health, which includes flossing daily and brushing at least two times a day with a fairly new toothbrush. Fluoride toothpaste is preferable for cavity prevention. Of course, smoking is bad for your teeth, as well as your lungs, and between-meal sugary snacks and sodas should be minimized.
Again, the consequences of failing to do the above go beyond painful and unsightly mouth problems. In the most extreme cases the consequences can literally be fatal. Among the medical disorders that dental problems can lead to are:
- Heart disease and stroke. Severe oral bacteria sometimes migrates to the arteries, causing clogging issues that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Infection of the heart. When your heart’s inner walls become inflamed (a condition known as endocarditis) oral bacteria which has entered the area from the bloodstream is sometimes to blame. The infection can be severely debilitating.
- Low birth weight. If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your nutritional and dental needs. Not only can your growing baby pull nutrients, potentially weakening gums and teeth, but studies suggest a link between gum disease in the mother, and the incidence of premature births and/or low birth weight.
Dental Checkups Can Also Provide Health Clues
Your dental health is also important to monitor in that it can offer clues about health issues elsewhere. For example, when your nutrition is sound and you take good care of your teeth and gums, yet you still seem to get mouth lesions, some sort of serious infection or autoimmune disease may be the culprit.
Is your dentist detecting tooth erosion or tooth loss, but you brush and floss carefully? A bone disorder, such as osteoarthritis, may be the culprit.
When gum issues persist, on the other hand, a serious health problem like diabetes might be to blame. Diabetes lowers your body’s immune response systems while also raising blood sugar levels. These combined problems can wreak havoc on the gums.
Make a Commitment to Complete Health
Regular dental check-ups are vital. Your dental professional can often spot dental problems that may actually be symptoms of a medical problem, rather than the results of poor flossing or brushing.
Dentists will stop oral decay problems, not only from wreaking havoc with teeth and gums, but also from doing damage to your overall health. Call our office today to schedule your regular checkup, or to set up a consultation as a new client.