NORTHAMPTON AND EAST LONGMEADOW, MASSACHUSETTS – You may think that your oral health only affects your teeth, but it can serve as a window to the state of your overall health.
This body-mouth connection is a growing concern for general dentistry practices, especially since many dentists have begun to take a holistic approach to their patients’ oral health treatments.
Oral bacteria can get out of control for a number of reasons, including your daily oral health habits that may become neglected over time.
“When bacteria builds up, it makes gums susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Vincent Mariano, one of the East Longmeadow and Northampton dentists at EMA Dental. “The bacteria eventually eat away at teeth and gums, causing periodontitis or gum disease.”
Gum disease can cause a number of health complications. For example, more than 90 percent of heart disease patients are found to have gum disease, according to WebMD.
Also, mothers-to-be with gum disease are as much as seven times more likely to give birth before their due date, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.
Risk factors for oral cancer and gum disease are similar, so preventive steps toward avoiding one may help you steer clear of the other, as well.
Periodontitis has also been found as a cause and consequence of diabetes. Ninety-five percent of diabetes patients also have gum disease, according to the ADHA. Many of those people often have a harder time controlling their blood sugar level than if they did not suffer from gum disease.
The bacteria that enter your blood stream as a result of gum disease can cause infection in other parts of your body, such as the endocardium, or innermost layer of your heart’s tissues.
Bacteria-ridden blood that enters that bloodstream can cause cardiovascular disease, according to Woman’s Day. This can often lead to stroke.
Through their National Stroke Awareness Month in May, the National Stroke Association offers stroke prevention tips. While some causes of stroke are uncontrollable, there are many simple ways, such as developing good brushing and flossing habits, that may help you to avoid this dangerous condition.
There are several other ways your oral health can help you know more about your overall health. For example, oral lesions may be a sign of HIV/AIDS. Tooth loss, which can be caused by gum disease, is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease if it occurs before age 35. The good news is that any teeth you lose due to decay can be replaced by dental implants.
Simple, daily habits such as brushing and flossing can have a positive impact, based on how well and how often you do them.
It is especially important to attend to oral health habits if you have Invisalign or any other types of braces because orthodontic hardware can make it more difficult for you to properly care for your teeth.
Your general dentistry expert can help you by identifying gum disease and other bacteria-related problems before they wreak havoc not only on your mouth, but also your entire body. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about the state of your oral health and steps you can take toward improving your oral hygiene habits.
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