We have long been aware of the basic benefits of brushing, flossing and good oral hygiene in keeping our teeth strong and healthy. However, we are learning from new research that oral health plays into our overall bodily well-being more than we realized.
This is especially true as we age. The evidence suggests that good oral health is a key to the prevention of other health problems.
Relation to Diabetes
When thinking of diabetes, a dentist may not be the first healthcare provider who comes to mind, but that is beginning to change. Diabetes often causes high blood sugar and acidity in the mouth, which can heavily impact oral tissues.
This leads to a greater risk factor for gum disease, tooth decay and other oral health problems. As diabetes can negatively impact the body’s ability to fight infection, it can also provoke severe oral issues. In a vicious circle, this can lead to infections and bacteria impacting the rest of the body.
Infections Can Spread
From gum disease, gingivitis, periodontitis and more, the mouth can be a critical component in the spread or prevention of infection. It’s been shown that bacteria can get in through the teeth.
Once a cavity begins to develop, it can open a pathway for harmful bacteria to migrate down to the root. At this point, the infection can enter your bloodstream where it is carried throughout the body. Left untreated, that can lead to further infection of vital organs and cause a life-threatening health situation.
Dentists are crucial in ensuring that cavities, cracks and abscesses are promptly treated to keep this disease vector closed and helping to minimize the problems of oral infection
Research is increasingly showing strong links between gum disease and heart disease. As bacteria build up under the gum line, the infection can eventually find its way into the bloodstream and reach the heart.
From there, it is found to play a role in the development of atherosclerosis and endocarditis. These conditions can cause a hardening of your heart’s arteries or malfunctioning in the valves, both of which can lead to stroke or heart attack.
Oral hygiene has not always been a focal point of our medical health. However, that clearly is changing, and oral health should be treated as an important part of our physical maintenance.
Regular dental care as well as a home routine of brushing and flossing can help prevent or mitigate any problems, so schedule your next appointment today.
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