Did you know that oral health affects overall health? Dental health conditions in the mouth can be indicators of other illnesses within the body. For instance, mouth sores can be indicators of an HIV infection, cold, or herpes. Consequently, it’s important to take proactive steps in your oral health care to reduce the risk of these four other health conditions.
Dental Health and Diabetes
Medical research has shown a strong relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. Periodontal disease (gum disease) weakens the body’s ability to utilize the insulin that it produces. Additionally, the increased blood sugar from diabetes results in an increased growth of oral bacteria. These two conditions promote the development of each other, and controlling one can lead to a positive effect on the other.
Dental Health and Arthritis
Evidence has shown a clear relationship between dental health and arthritis. Studies show that the bacteria from the mouth have been found in the fluid of joints affected by arthritis, such as the knees. That is perhaps why treating dental conditions caused by bacteria, such as gum disease, results in a reduction of pain from arthritis.
Dental Health and Respiratory Conditions
Oral health and respiratory healthy are heavily linked. Conditions such as pneumonia and asthma can arise from poor dental health. The theory here is that the bacteria from the gums find their way into the lungs where they attack and result in respiratory complications. While they may not necessarily be the cause of the conditions, they tend to worsen the conditions and create further complications.
Dental Health and Heart Disease
Data suggest those with periodontal disease have increased chances of contracting heart disease. The idea here is that once the inflammation caused by the periodontal disease becomes chronic, it leads to inflammation in blood vessels. This, in turn, results in an increase in blood pressure, which could also mean a connection between oral health and hypertension, resulting in heart complications and heart disease. Another theory is that the bacteria from the gums find their way into the blood vessels leading to plaque buildup and eventually a heart attack. In extreme cases, the plaque may travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
It is important that you develop a good dental hygiene routine on a daily basis to avoid other health complications. At the same time, your primary care physician should do a full body work up to identify whether or not your health condition(s) could be as a result of an oral health issue.