5 Ways Oral Health Affects Overall Health

senior couple hugging and smiling after oral health exams

You know that unhealthy teeth cause problems, but did you know how much they can affect the rest of your body? There are specific issues that can pop up when your mouth isn’t healthy. Here are five ways oral health affects your overall health:

1. Gum Disease Makes Diabetes Worse

Periodontitis causes severe inflammation of the gums. Your gums start to pull away from your teeth, forming gaps that become infected. For people with diabetes, gum disease also makes it harder for the body to absorb insulin medication. As a result, your blood sugar goes up and makes infections in the mouth worse.

2. Dental Problems Affect Pregnancy

During pregnancy, dental health is just as important as the rest of your body’s health. Studies show that gum disease raises a baby’s chance of being premature. Pregnancy hormones also make existing dental problems worse. It’s important to get checkups during this time.

3. Gum Disease & Heart Health Are Linked

While experts aren’t 100% sure why, there is a link between your oral health and heart health. People with gum disease have higher rates of heart problems. It can give you a 2-3 times increased chance of a heart attack. This could be because inflammation in the gums affects the heart.

4. Poor Dental Health Makes You More Vulnerable to Pneumonia

Breathing bacteria into your lungs can cause pneumonia. When you don’t take good care of your teeth, bacteria build up in your mouth. They can make their way into your lungs and make you sick. Elderly people are especially vulnerable.

5. There’s a Link Between Oral Health & Brain Health

Though the science is unclear right now, there’s an association with gum disease and Alzheimer’s. It could be because large amounts of bacteria in the mouth travel to the brain via the bloodstream. At least one study shows that a type of bacteria that kills nerve cells can get to the brain from the mouth.

Keep Your Oral Health in Top Shape at Mission Hills Family Dental

Ignoring a dental problem isn’t just bad for your mouth. It can affect your whole body. If you’re concerned about your oral health, please contact us! Dr. Miller and the team at our San Marcos office are eager to help.

We care about your oral health, contact us today!
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