A Guide To The Connection Between Oral Health and Systemic Conditions

A Guide To The Connection Between Oral Health and Systemic Conditions

June 1, 2023

Good oral health is essential to maintain a fully functional and beautiful smile. While your mouth is only a small part of your mouth, it plays a key role in your overall health and well-being. For instance, recent studies have linked poor oral health to serious systemic conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy mouth can significantly lower your risk of these and other health conditions. This guide discusses the relationship between your oral health and systemic health.

Oral Health and Heart Disease

Recent studies have established a significant connection between heart problems and poor oral health, mainly due to periodontal disease. Periodontal or gum disease refers to the inflammation of the gum tissues. Gum disease causes gum recession, bleeding, swelling, and redness. In severe stages, it can lead to bone loss, wobbly teeth, and tooth loss, among other complications.

When left untreated, periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream to vital body organs, causing inflammation and plaque in the arteries, causing atherosclerosis. This can narrow or clog the arteries, causing cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, attacks, and strokes. The Journal of Dental Research showed that individuals with periodontal or gum disease had a 1.5 higher chance of experiencing a cardiovascular problem. Visit our dentist near you for treatment if you have gum disease.

The Link between Oral Health and Diabetes

Diabetes is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects the body’s ability to process blood glucose, often resulting in excess blood sugar. Poor oral health can increase your risk of developing diabetes or make it difficult to manage.

For instance, periodontal bacteria can cause inflammation in the body, leading to higher blood glucose levels and insulin resistance, contributing to a higher risk of diabetes or worsening diabetes. Good oral hygiene and health can lower your risk of inflammation and systemic health problems like diabetes.

Conversely, diabetes can affect several aspects of your mouth, increasing your risk of oral infections. Research shows a higher prevalence of periodontal disease in diabetics, with nearly 22% of diabetic individuals having gum disease. The high sugars in the blood can weaken the immune system, making it harder to fight oral infections.

Similarly, it can contribute to high sugars in the saliva and a dry mouth, leading to an overgrowth of harmful oral bacteria that cause gum disease and other oral problems. Managing your blood sugars can help lower your risk of oral infections if you have diabetes.

The Link between oral Health and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious condition in which brain cells and connections degenerate and die, destroying memory and other mental functions. Research has uncovered a potential connection between poor oral health and Alzheimer’s disease.

For instance, the Journal Science Advances published a study that showed the presence of periodontal bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis) in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s. This bacterium can produce toxins called gingipains that break down proteins in the brain cells, causing inflammation and cell death. The study suggested that maintaining good oral health can prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Links between Oral Bacteria and Systemic Health

As we’ve above, there’s a significant connection between oral bacteria, particularly periodontal bacteria, and systemic conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. This means treating or managing oral infections can lower your risk of systemic conditions and promote good oral health and overall well-being. Visit our dentists in Dover, NH, if you have any oral symptoms like:

  • Gum soreness, bleeding, redness, recession, or swelling
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Dental damages like chips, cracks, or breaks
  • Missing teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Canker sores
  • An improper bite, misalignments, or overcrowding
  • Tooth caries or cavities
  • Jaw or facial swelling

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral and Systemic Health

Below are practical tips to promote optimal good oral and overall well-being:

  • Brush at least twice daily, at least 2 minutes at a time. Use a soft brush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Avoid damaging habits like using teeth as tools.
  • Seek prompt treatment for oral problems.
  • Always stay hydrated.
  • Manage your blood sugars if you have diabetes.

Learn More about Oral and Systemic Health

Do you have more questions about the connection between oral health and overall well-being? Or perhaps you need dental treatments for pre-existing oral problems? Contact and book a dentist appointment at Belknap Dental Associates to book your appointment today.

Our dentists in Dover, NH also welcome patients from the below given nearby areas:-

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