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Oral Health’s Impact on Overall Health Melissa Rodgers

By at September 24, 2012 | 7:13 am | Print

Many people are not aware that when we neglect to properly take care of our teeth and gums, that they are also putting their overall health at risk as well. Although the mouth and the rest of the body are seen as being totally separate from one another, research has found that there is a link between poor oral health and some diseases and conditions. Dental health is neglected by many because of the lack of education about the effectiveness of dental care, and mainly the costliness of it.

Inflammation in the gums is caused by built up bacteria on the teeth, and when prolonged will cause problems throughout the whole body. The body will use its natural defenses to ward off this infection but when it gets too out of control, bacteria will enter the bloodstream. When bacteria enter the blood, the rest of the body is compromised causing problems with our health.

While some conditions are triggered by poor oral health, others worsen. Diseases and conditions that have been linked to gum disease have included; diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, premature birth, and some lung conditions. Diabetes is a major disease that affects many, and alone it causes the body to be more susceptible to infection. When combined with gum disease diabetes can be dangerous, causing the body to be unable to control the blood sugar levels. The gums and bones that hold teeth in place are at greater risk of deterioration when blood sugar is not kept under control.

Studies have shown that people with gum disease are two times more likely to have heart disease. Although researchers have not found a direct correlation between gum disease and heart disease, they do go hand in hand. The findings have concluded that this connection exists because most patients with heart disease have gum disease. There have been other risk factors included as well including smoking and obesity. Smoking cigarettes deteriorates our gums and cause tooth decay. Obesity is said to have been linked with gum disease, finding that it progresses faster in individuals with higher amounts of body fat. It is also found that it is common for a pregnant woman to develop what is known as pregnancy gingivitis. This condition usually goes away, but if not properly managed can lead to a low birth weight for the baby because the bacteria that are in the gums can spread to the amniotic sac.

Just like anything that relates to our overall health, one disease may be linked to another and may be caused by similar things; this applies to our oral health as well. There is a noticeable chain reaction from one body system to another. Although all of the findings are not %100 proven, the numbers in the statistics are too high to doubt the fact that there is a definite correlation that exists. Oral health has a major impact on our health if not managed properly. Dental care has to be taken as seriously as any other routine part of managing our health. If we take heed to what the dentist says and follow a routine plan of care, we will ensure that we took one more preventative measure to prevent disease in our bodies. Everyone should brush at least twice a day, floss one time a day, see dentist regularly, and make sure to eat junk food and sweets in moderation.




NIH › … › Surgeon General’s Report



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