Did you know that your oral health plays an important role in maintaining your overall health and well being? If your answer to this question is no – you are not alone. In fact, many individuals are unaware of the key role that their oral health plays in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to a number of recent studies, individuals with serious gum disease or periodontitis, are much more likely to develop chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, while severe gingivitis has been linked to high-risk pregnancy.
The Mouth-Body Connection
To better understand the connection between oral health and these chronic conditions, it is important to examine the role that the mouth plays in terms of bacteria entering the body.
The mouth is an entry-point to all sorts of bacteria, most of which our bodies can handle. However, when oral health is compromised and the seal between the gum tissue and bone is broken, the gum becomes permeable to bacteria and sets off an immune response in the body.
This immune response typically leads to inflammation in the gums, which when chronic, results in infection. Then, because the immune system is preoccupied with fighting the infection in the mouth, it will miss problems in other parts of the body.
Inflammation in the mouth can also contribute to inflammation in the blood vessels, which increases blood pressure and plaque deposits, and therefore an individual’s risk of stroke. Further, periodontitis has also been found to have a direct effect on insulin production, which can worsen diabetes.
The Importance of Oral Health
Poor oral health can lead to a number of other problems, making it important to maintain dental hygiene. Included in this regiment should be regular brushing, flossing and cleanings with your general dentist, as this will prevent these issues, if present, from becoming chronic and affecting your overall health.
If it has been more than two years since your last visit to the dentist, the first step in improving your oral health will be to schedule a routine visit with your general dentist. The longer you go between cleanings, the more likely you are to develop tartar that leads to periodontitis and gum disease, and ultimately more pressing health conditions.
While serious if left untreated, the good news is that periodontitis and other gum diseases can be easily detected and treated with the right dental plan. To find out if you are at risk for these or other oral health problems, call us at 813-689-4226 to schedule an appointment today.