The Link between Dental Health and Your Overall Health

smiling healthy woman pointing at her teethYou know that dental health can help you keep your smile bright and beautiful. But did you know that good dental health can help you maintain good overall health too?

A  Possible Link between Dental and Overall Health

You may think the health of your mouth couldn’t have anything to do with your overall health (or systemic) health. But current research, such as that reported by the Surgeon General, seems to indicate that there is indeed a link.The studies have found that the presence of oral infections can serve as a sign of infection or disease elsewhere in the body. Other studies have proposed a link between oral disease and systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease that may result in heart attack or stroke.

How the Link May Work

There are a number of proposals to explain how poor oral health may link to conditions within the rest of the body:
  • Inflammation caused by gum disease can impair the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar
  • Inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in blood vessels
    • Inflamed blood vessels allow less blood to travel between heart & rest of body, raising blood pressure
    • There is a greater risk that fatty plaque will break off the wall of a blood vessel & travel to heart or brain, causing heart attack or stroke
  • Some studies have found that infection and inflammation in general seem to interfere with the development of fetus in the womb, leading to premature birth or low birth weight, which can effect an infant’s development and health
The diseases to which poor oral could have a link include:
  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/Aids
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s
Other conditions that may have a connection to oral health but require further research include rheumatoid arthritis, lung conditions and obesity.

Maintain Your Dental Health to Help Maintain the Health of Your Body

Your mouth is not a separate entity from the rest of your body. But the more research that is done on the subject makes it clearer and clearer that there is even more of a connection between our mouths and the rest of our bodies than we ever thought.The bottom line: there is an almost certain link between your oral health and your systemic health. Your best bet for keeping both healthy is regular brushing and thorough check-ups and cleanings with Dr. Garcia. You may just save yourself from years of serious dental and health problems!

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