We’re told throughout our lives that oral health is important. But many of us don’t realize just how important it actually is. Your oral health can actually impact the health of your entire body. Dr. Bradley Dean, a periodontist in Plano, TX, explains the connection between your mouth and the rest of your body.
Why Oral Health is So Important
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Particularly when you eat certain foods and don’t regularly brush and floss, bacteria build up on your teeth. These bacteria make your gums more susceptible to infection, causing inflammation when the immune system steps up to fight. The inflammation continues as long as the infection persists. If it isn’t brought under control, the bacteria eat away at the gums and bone structure, as well as causing issues throughout the rest of the body.
Inflammation and its Impact
Inflammation is the root cause of many different types of diseases. Major issues include diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and many others. The longer that inflammation is taking place in the body, the more damage it can cause. Since gum disease results in consistent inflammation, that ups the risk factor.
This inflammation makes the gums swollen, red, and more prone to injury. When you’re brushing your teeth, noticing blood is a sign that there’s a problem with the gums. Small cuts will open in the sensitive tissue, allowing the bacteria causing the gum disease into the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body.
One of the most prominent oral health connections is with diabetes. If you have high blood sugar, it provides a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Inflammation in the mouth is also shown to impact how the body regulates blood sugar. It impacts the body’s ability to utilize insulin the way it should.
Heart disease is another health issue that seems to correlate with gum disease. Up to 91% of patients that have heart disease also have periodontitis. While it isn’t completely understood yet, the theory is that inflammation plays a large part. Inflammation in the mouth can also inflame the blood vessels. This increases the risk of a heart attack and raises your blood pressure by making it more difficult for blood to flow.
Alzheimer’s and gum disease make a vicious cycle. Periodontal disease can increase dementia in patients. Dementia then makes it harder for people to remember to take care of their oral health. Ultimately, it comes with a decline in both mental capacity and oral hygiene, making gum disease worsen further.
Get a Checkup at Your Plano, Texas Periodontist
Make sure your oral health isn’t taking a toll on the rest of your body. Call us or schedule an appointment online.