Your oral health is an indicator of your overall health. Gum disease and decayed teeth are unsightly and can affect your ability to eat and digest your food. Much more important, bad oral health greatly increases your risk of chronic disease, infertility and pregnancy complications. Here are some of the health problems that may occur if you have bad oral health, courtesy of Trailhead Dental.
One of the most common problems with bad oral health is that it causes chronic inflammation. Numerous studies have shown a link between chronic inflammation and heart disease, which can include blood clots and stroke. You are also more likely to develop endocarditis, which causes inflammation and infections in the heart itself. Scientists have also found links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation and destruction of connective tissues. Older adults already have an increased susceptibility to these problems.
Bad oral health can affect a woman’s ability to conceive and can increase the length of time it takes to get pregnant. Women with gum disease are also more likely to have trouble carrying a pregnancy to term. Premature birth and low birth weight, which affects the baby’s chance of survival, have been linked to periodontal disease. In men, bad oral health increases the risk of chronic periodontal disease (CPD), which has been linked to erectile dysfunction. Men who have CPD have been found to have difficulty having and sustaining erections.
Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your body cells no longer respond to the hormone insulin. It is endemic in America today. Diabetes makes you more susceptible to infections and increases your risk of gum disease. Any infection makes it more difficult to control your blood sugar. There are also indications that bad oral health is a contributing factor to developing diabetes. The eating habits for both conditions — too much sugar and/or carbohydrate — contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, high blood sugar, tooth decay and gum disease, or gingivitis.
Other Problems Linked to Bad Oral Health
Gingivitis and bad oral health can affect the brain. Some studies have shown a link between gingivitis and Alzheimer’s disease. Adults who have gingivitis often perform worse on memory and cognitive tests than those who had good oral health. Infections in the mouth can affect the respiratory system, leading to pneumonia. Several types of cancer — kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and blood cancer — have been linked to bad oral health. Kidney disease is another condition that may go hand-in-hand with bad oral health.
Good oral health practices and regular preventative care can reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Most, such as brushing and flossing, take only a few minutes of daily care. Equally important, a healthy mouth means your risk of many other health problems is much lower. We can help you maintain a healthy mouth. Please contact us at Trailhead Dental to schedule an appointment for an assessment or to answer any questions you might have.