Your mouth is the window into the health of your body. The mouth can signal if you are eating a healthy diet or if you are at risk for a disease. Some diseases which affect the entire body, such as diabetes, heart disease, or autoimmune diseases, may first be noticed because of mouth sores or other oral problems.
Your mouth has countless bacteria which can affect tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease may be connected to diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). A link between these whole body (systemic) conditions does not mean that one condition necessarily causes the other but you should consider the impact that they have on your overall health.
Diseases like diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV infections and autoimmune conditions lower the body’s ability to fight infection and tend to make periodontal conditions worse. Multiple studies show links between chronic inflammations from gum disease with heart disease, artery blockage and stroke.
Diabetes tends to attack soft tissues like eyes, kidneys and gums. People with diabetes are more likely to develop more severe gum disease than non-diabetics. Some studies show that inadequate oral hygiene and periodontitis make it harder to control blood sugar.
Even though periodontitis (gum disease) may relate to these health concerns it does not mean that one condition causes the other. However, it has been shown that diabetics and smokers are at a higher risk for developing periodontal (gum) disease. This disease not only causes persistent bad breath but early tooth loss.
How can you help prevent these conditions?
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes.
- Floss your teeth at least once per day.
- Eat a healthy diet, low in sugar
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional exams and cleanings
- Tell your dentist about changes in your overall health.
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, pay close attention to your teeth and gums. The hormonal changes in pregnancy can increase some dental problems. Taking good care of your oral health is important to you and your baby.
If you are looking for a dentist who helps you make the connection between your dental health and your overall health Dr. Donna F. Helton is the dentist for you! Call us at 434-792-5416 or visit our website to schedule your appointment.