The Connection between Oral Health and Your Systemic Health
It's easy to think of the mouth as separate from the rest of your body, and your oral health as being distinct from your general health. But the truth is, your oral health and your general health are closely connected—and they greatly influence each other.
Medical research has discovered that periodontal disease can contribute to disease processes in other parts of the body.
How Periodontal Disease Influences Your General Health
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is mainly caused by neglect of oral health and hygiene. Without a good daily regimen of brushing and flossing, food particles on the teeth and gums feed bacteria that then deposit plaque acids on teeth. Over time, plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums and, along with the bacterial infection itself, is the beginning of gum disease.
If gum disease advances, oral bacteria enter the bloodstream. When this happens, bacteria can potentially affect other parts of the body. This is how oral bacteria can contribute to diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some effects of gum disease on general health can include:
Gum disease may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
People with diabetes have a harder time controlling their blood sugar if they also have gum disease.
This means that periodontal disease isn't just an oral health condition—it interacts with and affects the health of your whole body. In this way, you can think of gum health as a reflection or extension of your overall health. When your gums are healthy, you're in better shape overall.
Preventing and Treating Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is a common problem that is easy to prevent. All it takes is twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and regular dental visits to maintain oral health. Just 1 to 2 dental visits a year is enough for most people. If you're pregnant or you have diabetes, then you may need to see your dentist more often.
Even if you already have gum disease, chances are it can be treated or even reversed. Treatment may include scaling, which removes tartar from teeth, or root planning, which treats the roots of teeth to prevent re-infection by bacteria. These simple treatments can protect your teeth from gum disease—and protect your overall health too.
Reach for Optimal Oral Health with Dr. Kelly
With regular maintenance and care, you can reach your optimal oral health. Dr. Kelly and his competent staff at Aesthetic Dentistry of Scottsdale can help you achieve your healthiest smile. If you’re interested in learning about our varied services, feel free to browse our website or give us a call at our Scottsdale, AZ dental practice. We look forward to working with you!