How Poor Dental Care Can Affect Your Overall Health
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 10/15/2018
Poor dental hygiene can lead to cavities. That much, I’m sure you know. But did you also know that your oral health is tied to your overall health? Regular brushing and flossing will keep your teeth clean and healthy, but proper dental care also helps kill or control bacteria that would otherwise be harmful to your body, leaving you susceptible to serious illnesses.
Gum disease, for example, is linked to a number of different illnesses. It is especially important for those with weakened immune systems -- individuals with diabetes or osteoporosis, for example -- to take good care of their teeth, or risk being vulnerable to health complications.
Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
If your gums are infected, the bacteria from periodontal disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in your heart. This leads to a buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries, which can decrease or block blood flow through the body. A higher risk of heart attack or stroke are possible, and may even result in the inner lining of the heart becoming infected and inflamed as part of a condition known as endocarditis.
The potential for infection in your lungs
When there is a buildup of bacteria in your mouth from gum disease, you are essentially breathing in that bacteria, as well. If your gum disease is left untreated and you breathe in that bacteria for an extended period, it could cause an infection in your lungs.
Difficulty managing your blood sugar
Those with diabetes are already vulnerable to gum disease, as their condition reduces the body’s resistance to infection. Inflammation of the gum tissue in turn can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar, causing your diabetes to worsen.
To avoid these potential health problems, it is important to maintain good dental hygiene. This includes regular brushing and flossing at home and routine visits to a dental professional. Call your local Kimball & Beecher office to schedule an appointment.