Just as the eyes are the windows to the soul, your oral health is the window to your overall health. If you have problems in your teeth or gums, you’re more likely to develop health issues in the rest of your body. Keep reading as a dentist in San Marcos explains how the health of your mouth affects the health of the rest of your body.
What is the Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health?
Much like other areas of the body, your mouth contains an abundance of bacteria, most of which are harmless or even beneficial. Since your mouth is the main entryway into the rest of your body, it’s important to keep any dangerous bacteria at bay.
Practicing good oral hygiene habits like regular brushing and flossing is normally enough to keep bacteria under control. However, slacking on these habits can cause bacteria to multiply, increasing your chances of oral infections such as gum disease and tooth decay.
Certain medications – antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, and antidepressants, to name a few – can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away bits of food that, if left behind, can cause bacteria to build up.
What Conditions Can Be Linked to Oral Health?
Your oral health might contribute to a few conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease. Although the reasons for the connection aren’t fully understood, research has suggested that heart disease and stroke might be linked to infections and inflammations caused by oral bacteria.
- Endocarditis. Infection of the inner lining of your heart usually occurs when bacteria from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach to the heart.
- Pregnancy complications. Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight and premature births.
- Pneumonia. If bacteria from your mouth enters your lungs, it can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
On the other hand, certain conditions can affect your oral health, such as:
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s ability to resist infection, which can increase the chances of contracting gum disease. Those who have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels are much more at risk. In addition, diabetics with excellent blood sugar control are significantly less likely to contract gum disease.
- HIV/AIDS. Lesions in the mouth are common among people with HIV/AIDS.
- Alzheimer’s disease. As Alzheimer’s progresses, oral health generally worsens.
- Osteoporosis. This bone-weakening condition is linked to tooth loss. Gaps left behind by missing teeth provide ample room for bacteria to cause infection.
How Can I Maintain Good Oral Health?
Practicing good oral hygiene habits is the best way to prevent certain health conditions from developing. These habits include:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day.
- Flossing daily.
- Limiting sugary foods.
- Replacing your toothbrush at least every three months.
- Avoiding tobacco use.
- Scheduling a checkup with your dentist every six months.
By taking care of your mouth, you are helping to take care of the rest of your body. Ask your dentist in San Marcos about how you can take charge of your oral health!
About the Practice
At San Marcos Gentle Dental, you can expect quality care in multiple areas of dentistry. Dr. J. Bob Donnelly has completed over 1600 hours of continuing education across 16 different dental disciplines, ensuring that he is well-rounded enough to meet all of his patients’ needs. Dr. John Drisdale is following in Dr. Donnelly’s footsteps by completing as many hours of continuing education as he can. Together they can treat any kind of oral health problem you might have. To learn more, click here or call (512)-396-5225.