How Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Health

How Oral Health Impacts Your Overall Health

Good dental care and oral health can impact more than just your teeth and gums. We’re always worried about cavities when we visit the dentist, but the causes of cavities can also lead to complications in other parts of the body. Bacteria in the mouth can build-up and cause infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Then, that tooth decay and gum disease can prevent your body from fighting illness. Oral health plays an extremely important role in your overall health and well-being.

In fact, you can tell how important your mouth is just by looking at it. Your mouth shows signs of disease, drug use and the status of your overall health. It’s becoming more and more common to use cells and fluids from your mouth to assess wellness and disease instead of drawing blood.

Why is Oral Health Important?

Infections can be caused by bacteria that originally entered your body through your mouth. If you’re not practicing good oral hygiene, then inflammation in your mouth can make it even easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Once it’s in the bloodstream, bacteria can access other parts of your body, including your heart. Since the mouth is so accessible, it can pass those contagious bugs to other people as well.

Good oral hygiene helps maintain the defense mechanisms your body has developed to protect you from germs that enter through your mouth. If everything is working as it should, the germs in your mouth will be neutralized. But if your oral hygiene is lacking, then those germs can take advantage of the opportunity to cause infection in your mouth and elsewhere in your body.

How Does Overall Health Impact Oral Health?

It’s not just poor oral hygiene that can have a negative effect on overall health. Problems in other parts of your body can also impact your oral health. Certain diseases, like diabetes, can lower your body’s ability to fight infection, making oral health problems more severe.

Medications can also impact your oral health. Antihistamines, painkillers and antidepressants can all reduce saliva flow. Since saliva washes away food and neutralizes the byproducts of bacteria, it’s more difficult for your body to fight the causes of mouth disease. You should talk with your dentist to identify potential risks, so that you can address them before they become a problem.

What Can I Do to Improve My Oral Health?

Even though gum disease is highly preventable, it’s still the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world. Gum disease can increase your chance of heart attack and stroke, so why not take a few extra precautions for your own well-being? The risks of poor oral hygiene can be scary, but they can also be avoided with healthy habits.

If your gums are swollen and tender, tend to bleed when you brush or you have bad breath that won’t go away, you might already have gum disease. Your dentist can help you identify underlying conditions and risk factors that could be contributing to gum disease, and then work with you to address it so it doesn’t become more severe.

If you are looking for a dentist in Cedar Rapids who can improve your oral health and overall health, contact Family SmileCare Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, today.

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