Your mouth is the first line of defense when it comes to your body’s overall health, and as such, problems with oral health can manifest in unexpected ways throughout your body. While your mouth contains bacteria, it is mostly harmless when kept at reasonable numbers; issues with oral health start when bacteria growth gets out of hand and your white blood cells cannot manage the onslaught. Keep reading to learn about some of the various ways that poor oral health can initiate health problems elsewhere.
Impacts of Oral Health
No longer seen as an isolated system, the mouth and its overall health have been shown to influence your overall health. For example, bacteria and white blood cells from the mouth can get absorbed into the blood stream and deposited in other parts of the body; heart disease and stroke are linked to inflammation, and excess white blood cells from the mouth trigger more inflammation than is healthy, which leads to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke due to a poor oral health condition such as a severe form of gum disease. It is possible to develop pneumonia from poor oral hygiene, due to bacteria in the mouth being deposited in the lungs. Bacteria from your mouth could even end up on the chamber walls of your heart, leading to an infection called endocarditis.
It is also worth noting that there is a link between severe gum disease and premature birth/low birth weight. There are a few things that you can do to significantly decrease your risk of poor oral health, and thus, overall health. Brushing and flossing multiple times per day is a quick and sure-fire way to limit the growth of bacteria before they have an army large enough to do damage to your teeth and gums. Washing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash is another great technique to quench the bacterial ranks and limit their growth rates. It is also very important to come in for your routine cleanings, because we can diagnose potentially harmful problems before they can cause significant damage—you also get a diligently cleaned mouth, making it easier to maintain thereafter. We hope that this information helped you understand that your mouth’s health is directly related to your overall health. Give us a call to schedule your next appointment, or if you have any concerns about your oral health.