Many might not be aware of the connection between oral health and overall health, or how issues with oral health can provide clues about overall health. The body and mouth are both filled with bacteria – mainly beneficial bacteria that maintain a person’s health. Typically, the body’s natural defenses along with good oral health care can keep bacteria under control. Without proper oral healthcare, bacteria buildup could lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. These issues could also lead to other health problems within the body.
Having poor oral hygiene doesn’t only affect the gums and teeth. Researchers found that certain medical conditions can be linked to oral health, such as endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart that develops when bacteria from other body parts, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and bind to damaged areas in the heart. Studies have revealed that it’s possible for cardiovascular disease to develop due to infections and inflammation in the gums that oral bacteria can cause. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that poor gum health, such as periodontitis, has linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Just as poor oral health can lead to other issues in the body, there are certain medical conditions that could lead to the deterioration of oral health. For example, diabetes lowers the body’s ability to fight off infections, which puts the gums at risk. Gum disease is usually more common amongst people who suffer from diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that patients with diabetes are more susceptible to tooth loss because of periodontal disease than people who don’t have diabetes. Because people with gum disease have a more challenging time controlling their blood sugar levels, regular periodontal care has been proved to improve diabetes control. Painful mucosal lesions are common amongst individuals suffering from HIV/Aids. Osteoporosis, which leads to weak and brittle bones, could link to periodontal bone and tooth loss. Studies have shown that cancer also affects oral health because the disease and its treatments contribute to the weakening of the immune system. Specific treatments like radiation therapy to the head and neck can harm salivary glands, which leads to a dry mouth, ultimately increasing the chances of tooth decay and infection.
It’s vital for patients to find an experienced dentist to help with preventative care in order to avoid tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral issues. Preventative dentistry could prevent other bodily issues, as well as help with other medical conditions in the body.
At McBride Dental, we offer preventative dentistry in San Diego by performing X-rays, deep cleanings, and other dental procedures that prevent diseases from damaging the mouth. Our ultimate goal is to protect our patients’ smile by helping them maintain good oral health. Visiting our office regularly will give us the opportunity to assess and treat any premature signs of damage before they worsen and become more painful. If you are in need of preventative dentistry, call 760-474-1003 to schedule an appointment.