How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

Woman brushing her teeth
You may not realize how important the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums are to your overall general health. Our mouths are a breeding ground for bacteria. This is normal and most of the bacteria are harmless if kept under control. But, without good oral care, which includes flossing and brushing, problems can occur. The bacteria in your mouth can multiply and combine with the sugar in foods to form acids. The acids attack your teeth and cause cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and periodontitis and these infections can then spread to other parts of your body. 

Because your mouth is the point of entry to your body, the bacteria can spread to your digestive and respiratory systems. 

What conditions can be linked to oral health?

  • Endocarditis
    When the bacteria in your mouth builds up, it can attack your gums and teeth causing gingivitis, also known as gum disease. Gingivitis causes your gums to bleed and allows the bacteria in your mouth to move into your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body. When it reaches your heart, you can develop endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the chambers of your heart. 
  • Heart disease
    A build-up of plaque on your teeth due to a lack of flossing and brushing can increase your risks of developing heart disease or stroke. Plaque on your teeth can get into your bloodstream and become lodged in your heart’s arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke. 
  • Pneumonia
    When you have a significant amount of bacteria in your mouth, it can be pulled directly into your lungs causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. 
  • Pregnancy and birth complications
    In addition to visits to their doctors for their regular check-ups, pregnant women should make it a point to see their dentist at Clock Tower Dental. The increased hormones, as a result of pregnancy, can worsen existing dental problems. Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, puts babies at risk of premature birth or low birth weight.
  • Diabetes
    Gum disease is more frequent and severe in patients with diabetes because of their lower resistance to infection. Periodontitis, an inflammation of the gums, can cause the gums to pull away from your teeth and form gaps that become infected. Periodontitis affects a diabetic’s ability to absorb insulin and control their blood sugar levels and can increase the severity of the gum infection.   
    Patients with HIV/AIDS are vulnerable to infections due to their weakened immune system. Complications from the infections can be fatal. That is why patients need to maintain good oral health to protect their overall health. 
  • Osteoporosis
    There is a connection between osteoporosis and bone and tooth loss. Some of the medications used in the treatment of osteoporosis have a small risk of causing damage to the jawbones. 
  • Other medical conditions
    Other illnesses linked to poor oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, patients with dry mouth, and certain cancers.

How Can You Protect Your Oral Health?

The way to protect your oral health is to practice good oral hygiene on a regular, daily basis. 

That includes:

  • Flossing your teeth daily
  • Brushing your teeth, at least twice a day, with a soft toothbrush
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use a mouthwash, after brushing and flossing, to remove food particles that may still remain
  • Make sure your diet is healthy
  • Limit your sugar intake
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner
  • Schedule your dental checkups and cleanings
  • Don’t smoke
  • If you notice an issue with your oral health, contact us to make an appointment

Taking care of your teeth helps you avoid serious health problems in the future. With regular visits to your Clock Tower Dentist’s you can keep your plaque under control and we can spot any problems before they become big problems. Taking care of your teeth now will save you pain in the future. 

To make an appointment, please call us at 516-352-1000 or you can click here to contact us.


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110 New Hyde Park Rd
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Phone: 516-352-1000

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