5 Ways Oral Health Can Impact Your Overall Health

  • Sep 18 2022

The connection between taking care of your oral health and issues like tooth decay and gum disease is clear. However, did you know that poor oral health can contribute to a wide range of overall health issues? The impact of poor oral hygiene can affect much more than just your mouth.

  • Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the major areas of concern when it comes to the impact of oral health on overall health. There are a variety of potential cardiovascular issues that have been linked to gum disease.

The bacteria that cause gum disease can enter your bloodstream when the area becomes inflamed, spreading it through your body. This includes the potential for infection in the arteries and within the heart itself — leading to hypertension and increasing your risk of a heart attack.

  • Respiratory Infections

Both gum disease and tooth decay are caused by the excess growth of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are always present, but poor oral hygiene and other dental issues allow them to grow rapidly. When this happens, you risk inhaling those bacteria into your lungs.

A bacterial infection of the lungs can be incredibly serious and can contribute to conditions like pneumonia and acute bronchitis. These conditions can have a major impact on your life and are sometimes fatal.

  • Complications with Diabetes

Diabetes and gum disease are often found together, with each condition being a risk factor for the other. Individuals living with diabetes can have increased difficulty managing their condition.

In patients with diabetes, gum disease can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate — making controlling levels through diet, exercise, or insulin injections much more difficult. This can lead to a reduced quality of life for patients, along with the potential risk of diabetic shock.

  • Cancer

While the mechanism behind the link isn’t always clear, oral health has been linked to increased risk for a variety of cancers. Of course, gum disease and other oral health issues can contribute to mouth and throat cancer, but other types of cancer are related as well.

Gum disease can increase the risk of kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood cancers. While maintaining oral health is important in any case, the causes and risk factors for different types of cancers are complex.

  • Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can cause chronic inflammation in many different systems and tissues. Not only does it affect the joints, but the lungs and heart can also become inflamed with rheumatoid arthritis. Poor oral health can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Gum disease can significantly increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis as well. The bacteria that cause gum disease then cause inflammation. If bacteria grow in significant numbers and spread to other areas of the body, they can also contribute to inflammation there.

How You Can Take Control of Your Oral Health

With both oral health and overall health at stake, patients should take the appropriate measures to ensure t

heir long-term oral health. 

Your oral hygiene routine is an important part of doing so. Brushing and flossing help manage bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions. Quitting smoking or other tobacco products is another important step toward oral health.

Visiting your dentist for routine dental care is just as important. Dental exams and cleanings help prevent oral health issues and ensure that problems are identified early for effective treatment. Payam Cohen, D.D.S., P.C., can provide the essential dental care you need here in Queens, NY. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Dental Health