How Does Oral Health Impacts Overall Health?

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How Does Oral Health Impacts Overall Health?

The health of our mouth is equally important as our general health. Here’s why?

Your mouth is full of millions of tiny bacteria. These bacteria can turn into harmful bacteria whenever they get the opportunity. Even though they cannot be seen by our naked eyes, destructive bacteria can cause simple conditions like dental caries and even life-threatening conditions like endocarditis.

Poor oral health allows bacteria to grow, multiply, and become rivals. When disease-causing bacteria escape from the mouth and are disseminated through the body via the circulatory system, they can enter the vital organs and alter their functions leading to compromised health.

Poor Oral Health and Diabetes

Have you ever wondered how someone gets diabetes even though their sugar consumption isn’t high? You may have never imagined that poor oral health may lead to diabetes. Unfortunately, yes. When bacteria invade the gums and the underlying jawbone it will give rise to a chronic inflammation inside the tissues around the tooth. Chemical mediators expressed throughout the procedure will alter the function of the tissues in the body leading to disturbed glucose metabolism. It will cause a high concentration of sugar in the blood resulting in diabetes.

Surprisingly, diabetes and periodontal diseases have a two-way relationship where periodontal diseases can lead to diabetes and vice versa.

Poor Oral Health and Heart Diseases

When bacteria enter the heart, they can accumulate around the heart valves and cause a serious condition called infectious endocarditis.

It has been known that periodontal disease alone is an independent risk factor contributing to the development of atherosclerotic vascular disease and the underlying mechanism is systemic inflammation. Inflammatory mediators will alter the liver functions and produce atheroma or cholesterol aggregations inside the blood vessels supplying the heart. Cholesterol depositions inside the blood vessels will hinder the oxygen and nutrient supply to the heart causing heart diseases.

Poor Oral Health and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome

Bacteria causing periodontal diseases can travel through the umbilical cord and colonize the placenta exposing both mother and the growing baby inside the womb to a huge risk.

Chemical mediators produced by the bacterial infection lead to a local inflammatory response in the fetoplacental unit. These inflammatory mediators will cause the following main adverse pregnancy outcomes that have been associated with periodontal disease

  • Low birth weight
  • Pre-term birth
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Risk of pregnancy gingivitis
  • Related to hormonal changes during pregnancy- increased progesterone
  • Oral hygiene behavioral changes during pregnancy mainly due to morning sickness.

In addition to these main disease conditions, poor oral health will also contribute as a major risk factor in developing,

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Chronic kidney diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome

Therefore, it is essential to take care of your oral health as you do for your general health.

To prevent harmful bacteria from growing inside your mouth you need to maintain good oral health by following regular oral hygiene practices.

Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day especially at night before going to bed and attend dental checkups with Dr. Ostromecki every six months.