Oral health and general physical health are closely related, especially in children and teenagers. But what exactly is the link between oral health and physical health? Chronic dental problems like gun disease can affect not just your mouth but also other parts of your body.
Oral hygiene might not seem like a priority when you’re busy dealing with other chronic conditions or dealing with an acute illness. However, it’s important to take care of your teeth so that you don’t suffer from any long-term effects on your general health. Here are some ways that periodontal disease can affect chronic conditions.
Gum disease can reduce your ability to fight off bacteria
Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria that attacks the gums and bones around teeth. It can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. However, there are treatments available for gum disease if caught early enough.
Gum disease can cause inflammation and swelling in other parts of the body because it’s the result of a bacterial inflection. This may lead to damage to the heart, kidneys, brain, or joints. These chronic conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of stroke
Stroke is a serious medical condition that causes permanent disability or even death. It’s also the leading cause of death in the United States, and it affects more than 800,000 people each year.
Strokes are caused by either a blood clot that blocks an artery in the brain or bleeding in the brain, which is also called a hemorrhage. Brain cells start to die off rapidly when blood flow is blocked for longer than 30 minutes. This damage can be severe enough to make you lose some or all of your ability to speak clearly or move certain muscles on one side of your body. It can result in permanent paralysis.
Gum disease puts you at greater risk for respiratory problems
Gum disease puts you at greater risk for respiratory problems. That’s because bacteria can spread from the gums to other areas of your body, including the lungs. Bacteria can cause inflammation in these areas and lead to a variety of conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis that affect breathing.
Here’s a look at three of the respiratory issues that these bacteria can affect:
Pneumonia: An infection in one or both lungs
Bronchitis: An infection in the tubes that carry air into your lungs (bronchi)
Asthma: A chronic lung condition where narrow tubes become inflamed due to allergies or irritation from chemicals or infections
Chronic periodontitis can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome leading to developing type 2 diabetes
A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The most common symptoms of metabolic syndrome include central obesity, which is identified by a large belly, high blood pressure, high triglycerides which is a type of fat in the blood, low levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol, and elevated fasting glucose levels or impaired glucose tolerance.
Mouth health is linked to dietary deficiencies
Oral health problems can impair your ability to eat nutritious foods, which may lead to dietary deficiencies that negatively affect your overall health.
It’s important to understand how diet is linked to oral health. A nutritional deficiency can lead to chronic conditions such as gum disease and tooth decay. Conversely, poor oral health can also cause nutritional deficiencies that negatively impact your health.
For example, if you have gum disease or tooth decay and don’t see a dentist regularly because of financial barriers or lack of access such as living in an area where there are few dentists, you’re more likely to develop problems like cavities or root abscesses than other people with healthy teeth and who may have insurance coverage for dental services.
Bacteria from the damaged tissue enter the bloodstream through tiny capillaries near the surface of gums surrounding teeth called periodontal ligaments. These infections can then travel throughout your body via blood vessels until they reach organs such as kidneys or lungs This process is called septicemia or bacteremia. The sickness from this is called sepsis. Severe cases result in death if left untreated!
Statistics show that 1.7 million U.S. residents are diagnosed with sepsis yearly with 270,000 dying from it.
How oral health affects thinking
Poor oral health can interfere with cognitive function and reduce school attendance, which may cause children to fall behind in their studies or fail classes altogether.
The connected between oral health and general physical health is well documented. Poor oral health can interfere with cognitive function. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to school attendance problems among children as young as kindergarten age. This can have long-term consequences for educational attainment later on in life.
In one study published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), researchers found that children aged 6-11 who had untreated cavities were twice as likely than those who did not have cavities to missing school at least once per month. Causes include illness or injury during their first year of elementary school.
The study also found that these same kids were less likely than others to achieve high scores on standardized tests such as the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) given in kindergarten through third grade.
A healthy mouth equals a healthy body
Oral health can be affected by chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which can cause significant pain and discomfort. When you have a chronic condition, it’s more important that you see your dentist regularly so that he or she can monitor for early signs of gum disease.
Understanding how oral health affects the rest of your body gives you more power to stay healthy. If you’re concerned about your oral health, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at ABCD Dental Group for a consultation. We are glad to help!
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