Can Bad Teeth Cause Other Health Issues?
We all know we should take good care of our teeth. We need to brush and floss to keep our teeth clean and healthy. But did you know there is a connection between healthy teeth and gums and overall health, including your heart and your brain? Over the last decade, research has shown a strong connection between your dental health and risks for Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even pregnancy complications. Studies have shown that the inflammation in gums or periodontal disease may cause or increase your risk for some conditions.
In order to really understand how the mouth can affect the body, we need to know what can go wrong in the first place and why. Our immune system naturally fights infection. When we allow bacteria to build up on our teeth, our gums are more likely to become infected. Our immune system, then jumps in to do its job of protecting us and attacks the infection and the gums become inflamed. This inflammation will continue until the infection is treated and healed.
What Are Some Conditions Related To Oral Health?
Recent research and studies have shown links between oral health and several health conditions.
Pregnancy complications and oral health:
Based on research by the American Academy of Periodontology, pregnancy complications, including risk of pre-term delivery and low birth weight can be increased due to periodontal disease. Babies who are born at too low of a birth weight or prematurely may suffer from a range of serious health issues including heart conditions, lung conditions, and learning disorders. If you have gum disease and are expecting a baby, you need to consult with your dentist and be sure to continue dental care with a periodontist.
Diabetes and oral health:
According to Pamela McClain DDS, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, “Periodontal disease further complicates diabetes because the inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin.” Research has shown that periodontal disease affects the body’s metabolism and can then contribute to the development of pre-diabetes. Furthermore, when someone has diabetes, risk of periodontal disease is increased. The good news is when you manage one disease, it helps to bring the other under control.
Alzheimer’s and oral health:
Alzheimer’s is a devastating brain disease, which causes dementia and affects millions of people. While research is ongoing, one theory scientists have presented is gum inflammation. According to Everyday Health, people who experience periodontal disease quadruple their risk for Alzheimer’s. If this is true, then preventing gum disease is crucial.
Heart disease and oral health:
People with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. According to researchers, periodontitis can lead to coronary heart disease.
While the research between oral health and overall health is still ongoing, everyone can agree that taking care of your gums and teeth is everyone’s best interest.