Perhaps you’ve put your teeth on the “back burner” while you address other goals in your life: like losing weight, exercising more, or finally giving up smoking. But did you know that some health goals can be difficult — if not impossible — to achieve, if your tooth and gum health isn’t what it should be?
Dental Diseases Linked with Major Health Problems
It turns out that your oral and systemic health are closely linked with each other. You can think of your mouth as the “gateway” to the rest of your body. If it’s impacted by swelling or high bacterial levels, it means your body is working overtime to try to get infection under control. Oral biofilm have full access to your cardiovascular system, as the bacteria can spread directly from bleeding, infected gums into your blood vessels.
As such, active periodontal (gum) disease significantly increases the severity and risk of health problems such as:
- Infertility in men and women
- Stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and high blood pressure
- Erectile dysfunction
- Premature labor
- Alzheimer’s disease
…and many more
Why is this the case? Researchers have found that oral bacteria can be inhaled into the lungs or become lodged within the blood vessel walls (including the heart and around the brain), thus placing a strain on our immune systems. The increased levels of bacteria cause an inflammatory response that weakens the body’s defense against other underlying issues, making it a challenge to recover from any of them 100%.
The Good News
By eliminating oral diseases and lowering the number of live bacteria inside of your mouth, you can give your immune system an added “boost.”
For example, diabetics with active periodontal infections tend to have a more challenging time when it comes to managing blood sugar levels. Because bacteria thrive off of sugar, the cycle goes around and around. But as soon as professional dental care and dedicated oral hygiene practices are implemented, bacterial levels are lowered. As a result, the body’s immune system becomes more effective. Gradually, blood sugar levels are more stable. While it’s not possible to heal your gum disease by taking medication for diabetes, treating your gum disease can help manage your diabetes!
Similar studies show that men and women who implemented good oral hygiene routines saw that they were able to conceive sooner and overcome inflammation-associated infertility complications.
The list goes on and on.
It’s Now or Never
Living a healthier lifestyle starts with a simple trip to the bathroom sink. Make daily flossing and twice-daily brushing part of your regular routine. Investing in a quality electric toothbrush can help. If flossing is a struggle, consider using a handheld flosser or switching to a water flosser that can hook up to your sink or shower.
Even with great oral hygiene, it’s possible for some bacteria to go untouched (especially if they’re deep below the gums and between teeth.) Schedule a cleaning and exam at Hawthorne Village Dental Care every six months to keep your smile (and your health) on track where it needs to be!