While you might not think your oral health has any connection to your overall health, they often go hand in hand. Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad, which can sometimes spiral into certain diseases or infections.
What conditions are linked to oral health?
As Mayo Clinic explains, there are many conditions linked to oral health, and it’s important to be aware of them:
- Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves typically occurs when bacteria from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Inhaling certain bacteria from your mouth, including bacteria from infected teeth or gums, can be pulled into your lungs and cause pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.
- Arthritis. Tooth loss due to gum disease increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Dementia. Bacteria due to gum disease can enter your brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream, possibly leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
How can you help prevent these from happening?
- Proper dental care. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using mouthwash and replacing your toothbrush every three to four months are all ways to practice proper dental care.
- Regular checkups. It’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year to ensure that everything is healthy and treat any possible issues.
- Healthy eating habits. Limiting sugary food and drinks helps prevent cavities and gum disease, which can lead to other conditions if left untreated.
Anytime you notice a new oral problem beginning to develop, contact your dentist immediately to ensure that it’s taken care of as soon as possible. You never know when it could potentially affect your overall health.