Dental Problems Can Affect More Than Just Your Mouth
Few people realize that oral and overall health are inextricably intertwined. Gum disease can cause bacteria to enter your bloodstream and damage other parts of the body. Likewise, the signs of some illnesses may first appear in your mouth. Researchers have solidly established the connection between dental health and heart disease, arguably the most serious consequence of poor dental maintenance. For a minimal increase in health insurance premiums, policyholders can purchase a good dental insurance plan that will help them get the oral care they need to preserve their overall wellbeing.
Why the Connection
Our mouths are usually replete with bacteria. For the most part, you can keep the bacteria in check with proper oral care, such as daily flossing and brushing. Because of its protective enzymes, saliva is also a primary defense against bacteria and viruses. When oral care is not maintained, however, bacteria get out of control and cause periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums. Gum disease provides bacteria with an entryway to your bloodstream, allowing it to wreak havoc elsewhere in your body.
Consequences of Poor Dental Care
Here is a list of just a few of the conditions and illnesses that might be linked to your teeth and mouth:
- Cardiovascular considerations. Research has linked several types of heart issues to poor oral hygiene. Oral-care-related cardiovascular diseases include clogged arteries, bacterial endocarditis, and stroke.
- Birth and pregnancy. Premature childbirth has also been associated with gum issues. The pathogenic organisms that live in the mother's mouth can end up in the amniotic fluid or placenta, which may lead to premature birth. What's worse, it may be too late to treat gum disease during a pregnancy, as the infection likely will have already spread throughout the woman's body.
- Diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of dry mouth, gum disease, tooth loss, dental caries, and a number of other mouth infections. Reciprocally, poor oral hygiene can also make it more difficult to manage diabetes, as mouth infections can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
- HIV/AIDS. Commonly, one of the first symptoms of AIDS appears in the patient's mouth in the form of a severe gum infection. AIDS may also cause lesions and white spots on the tongue and mouth.
- Osteoporosis. The early stages of osteoporosis frequently manifest themselves in the teeth. Usually, dentists can identify the signs of osteoporosis in routine dental X-rays. Identifying the culprit early through proper dental care can improve prognosis.