A Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body

Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is a worthy goal in and of itself. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, and can help you keep your teeth as you get older. Researchers are also bringing up new reasons to brush and floss. A healthy mouth may help you ward off medical disorders.

The other side of the coin to this is that an unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor.

Your Mouth as a Source of Infection

If you don’t brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque can build up along your gumline, creating an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. This gum infection is known as gingivitis.

Gingivitis left intreated can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis. The most severe form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, also known as trench mouth.

Although bacteria from your mouth normally don’t enter your bloodstream. However, invasive dental treatments, sometimes even just routine brushing and flossing if you have gum disease, can provide a port of entry for these microbes. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow can also compromise your mouth’s normal defenses, allowing these bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

In situations where your immune system is weakened, for example because of a disease or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream (bacteremia) may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body. Infective endocarditis, in which oral bacteria enter your bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this phenomenon.

Health Conditions Attributed To Plaque

Long-term gum infection can eventually result in the loss of your teeth. But the consequences may not end there. Recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections — primarily gum infections — and poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. 

Some of these infections researches are attributing to unhealthy mouth include the following:

  • Uncontrolled Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you’re already at increased risk of developing gum disease. But chronic gum disease may, in fact, make diabetes more difficult to control, as well. Infection may cause insulin resistance, which disrupts blood sugar control.

  • Preterm Birth

Severe gum disease may increase the risk of preterm delivery and giving birth to a low birth weight baby. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, in fact, estimates that as many as 18 percent of preterm, low birth weight babies born in the United States each year may be attributed to oral infections.

  • Cardiovascular Diseases

Oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis) may also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. It appears that bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries. This inflammation may serve as a base for development of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, possibly increasing your chances of having stroke or a heart attack.

Oral health can have a huge impact on the overall health of a person. To learn more about possible health concerns stemming from oral health issues, visit https://www.westcobbdentistry.com/.