Oral Health and Overall Health: Connecting the Dots
Did you know that the condition of your mouth is directly liked to your overall health? In fact, taking care of your teeth is about more than having a nice smile. It can directly affect your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more. Read on to see how oral care and your overall health go hand in hand.
Type-2 diabetics are at increased risk of developing gum disease (periodontitis) if left uncontrolled. Conversely, non-diabetics with higher levels of periodontal disease were twice as likely to develop type-2 diabetes compared with people with low levels or no gum disease. Having gum disease puts patients at greater risk of inflammation to the body, which can worsen diabetes and make it harder to keep blood sugar in check.
While smoking and old age can contribute significantly to cardiovascular conditions, there also seems to be a connection between heart disease and poor oral health. If you have gum inflammation, it can affect your heart and blood vessels. Studies suggest that every time your brush or floss, bacteria releases into the blood stream where it can end up in specific areas where plaque begins to form in the arteries. These bacteria can then lead to clot formation. And when your gums are inflamed, the body releases chemicals into your bloodstream that help fight infection – chemicals that circulate in the blood and may add to plaque buildup in the arteries.
Because of hormonal changes, pregnancy alone increases your risk for gum disease. And research suggests that periodontal disease ups the risk for low birth weight and pre-term labor. It’s important to continue to have regular dental visits while pregnant to detect and treat gum disease early on.
Keep gum disease at bay by doing the following:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Don’t smoke, as smoking increases your risk of gum disease
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings
By taking these three easy steps, your mouth (and body) will thank you.
To schedule your regular checkup with Drs. Kraut, Rogoff, Newsome and Kakanantadilok at the Montefiore Department of Dentistry, contact us online. Our office is located in the Bronx and can be reached at 888-700-6623. We look forward to meeting you!