Our mouth is the gateway to our body. Even the prettiest of smiles have invisible bacteria living in them. These bacteria have a direct connection to many systemic diseases. By maintaining oral hygiene at home and visiting your dentist on a routine schedule, as a team we can keep the bacteria controlled and prevent them from causing uncontrolled problems.
Signs that bacteria in your mouth is not controlled
Many of these signs can go unnoticed by an untrained eye until the problem is severe. Gingivitis is the earliest sign. Some people may notice bleeding gums when they floss or brush. Receding gum tissue is when the roots of your teeth become visible. This is a sign that bacteria may be causing bone loss. Mobile teeth is a very severe sign that this bacteria has progressed to a point where the loss of teeth is inevitable. When bone loss occurs this bacteria can travel down the side of your teeth and enter your bloodstream. Once the bacteria is in your bloodstream then it can travel to any part of your body.
All of the research agrees that oral health is essential for overall health
What Systemic issues can occur?
Heart Disease: Heart disease has a 70% increased risk of occurring if you have poor oral hygiene. Poor oral health can cause bacterial infection in the bloodstream and this can affect your heart valves. Individuals with artificial heart valves are considered to be at an even higher risk.
Diabetes: Periodontal disease can actually make it more difficult to control your blood sugar. Diabetes also decreases your ability to heal. If you have a decreased ability to heal then bacteria can cause more severe damage.
Osteoporosis: When your bone density is weak this may increase your risk for bone loss around your teeth. This put you at a higher risk for tooth loss. This is most common in women.
Hypertension: Periodontal disease can cause blood pressure to be more severe and can interfere with medications and treatment.
Anxiety: Your immune system is linked to stress levels. If our immune system is decreased due to stress or anxiety, then our body will not be able to fight the bacteria in our mouth well.
COPD: Poor oral health can cause COPD symptoms to be exacerbated and flare-ups to be more frequent.
Preterm births and low birthweight: Women with periodontal disease are 7 times more likely to deliver a pre-term baby with low birthweight.
Glaucoma: It is believed that inflammatory microbes from oral infections may cause a damaging reaction to the optic nerve leading to glaucoma and irreversible eye damage.
Pancreatic Cancer: Poor oral health can increase your risk for pancreatic cancer by 59%.
Arthritis: Inflammation causes arthritis and periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease. Arthritis increases your risk for periodontal disease and research has linked the same inflammatory markers in periodontal disease to arthritis.
Dementia: Researchers have found that bacteria in our mouth can travel to our brain. Their research has also revealed that individual with Alzheimer’s have been found to have high levels of this bacteria located in the brain.
Acid reflux: Acid reflux is like battery acid. It causes serious damage to the esophagus and can even lead to esophageal cancer. Many times, it can be diagnosed by a dentist due to the severe erosion that is noted on the teeth. Acid reflux can literally eat your teeth away.
Pneumonia: Aspiration pneumonia is at its greatest risk when Periodontal disease, dental caries, and poor oral hygiene are present. This is a more common issue for the elderly.
How can I reduce my risk for systemic health problems?
Biannual visits to your dentist are highly recommended. When an oral health problem is noted, get it addressed and fixed. Follow great oral hygiene home care including brushing 2 times per day and flossing daily. Give us a call to schedule an exam today.