Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings are key for preventing cavities and gum disease, but did you know good oral hygiene can help improve your overall health as well? Many don’t realize there is a link between oral and overall health, but studies prove the connection, and new findings emerge every year. While there is much health professionals still don’t know, we do know the harmful inflammation caused by gum disease and poor oral health can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular, respiratory, and perhaps even the central nervous system. Not to mention oral health issues can be detrimental to your mental health.
At Ormond Beach Perio, we believe maintaining good oral health is the key to living a long healthy life. We always educate our patients about the important connection between oral health and overall health. Here are some of the important things we know today:
Poor Oral Health Leads To Chronic Inflammation
Poor oral hygiene often results in infection and gum disease which leads to chronic inflammation of the gums. Inflammation is your body’s immune response to disease, and it’s necessary to promote healing. However, inflammation can take a tremendous toll on your body. Inflammation is one of the primary links between oral and overall health. When inflammation persists over a long period of time, it can result in chronic fatigue, headaches, body aches, sinus problems, high blood pressure, and much more. When you experience long-term inflammation, it’s going to negatively impact how you feel all over your body — but it doesn’t stop there. Chronic inflammation can lead to significantly more severe issues.
Poor Oral Health Could Impact Your Cardiovascular System
Patients suffering from gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, so there is a clear link between oral health and the cardiovascular system. We now view gum disease as an independent risk factor for heart disease. The theory is gum disease causes inflammatory cells to enter the bloodstream, which can impact the heart. Additionally, the plaque that builds up on your teeth is the same plaque that leads to heart disease.
Poor Oral Health Could Impact Your Respiratory System
Those inflammatory cells that enter the bloodstream could also impact the lungs, especially when patients are already experiencing lung diseases like asthma or COPD. Additionally, when you have gum disease, your mouth contains tons of harmful bacteria, which can easily make its way into the lungs. Healthy lungs can usually fight off bacteria, but this isn’t always the case with unhealthy lungs. Long-term gum disease can make existing lung conditions even worse.
Poor Oral Health Could Result In Cognitive Disorders
Chronic inflammation can impact every area of the body including the brain. A constant supply of inflammatory cells in the bloodstream over a long period of time can also deteriorate the brain, increasing the chance of Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues. Health professionals still have a lot to learn about this connection, but many studies suggest such a link exists. Maintaining good oral health is critical for maintaining healthy cognitive function throughout your life.
Poor Oral Health Can Impact Your Mental Health
Mental health can be significantly impacted by poor oral health. We rely on oral function for eating, speaking, and socializing. Poor oral health can lead to a negative self-image and significantly impact a person’s self-confidence. Low self-esteem can impact both personal and professional relationships and result in depression and anxiety.
How To Improve Your Oral Health
Good oral hygiene begins with good habits. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings are the first step to keeping your oral health and overall health in good shape. However, if you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of gum disease, it’s critical to seek treatment right away. The longer gum disease lingers, the longer your body will produce an inflammatory response, which is what ultimately can lead to larger problems with your overall health.
At Ormond Beach Perio, we view oral health as a window to your overall health. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, we recommend seeking treatment right away to help reduce the possibility of a long-term inflammatory response. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.