Have you ever been driving your car, and you noticed a rattle in the engine? You aren’t sure what it is at first, but it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal, and it isn’t affecting the rest of the car, so you keep driving. But then it seems like everything falls apart at once. Because your car is not a series of unconnected systems; it’s a single whole. If one thing experiences a problem, that can be a domino that tips over, starting a long and unfortunate chain of events.
Your body is like that, as well. Something going wrong in one part of your body, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, can affect every other part of you. This is particularly true if you’re having problems with your oral health, since what goes on in your mouth can have some pretty far-reaching consequences.
6 Ways Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
#1: Gum Inflammation Linked to Cardiovascular Disease
According to Greenville Online, if your body is busy fighting battles in your mouth, that could lead to an uptick in your risk for cardiovascular disease. Heart disease, clogged arteries, and even the risk of a stroke are affected by a lot of things, from your diet to your exercise regimen, but if you’re constantly pulling nutrients and fresh blood to your gums to fight against infection, that means there are fewer resources to go around.
#2: Diabetes and Gum Disease Go Hand-in-Hand
Diabetes is on the rise, and it’s been linked to everything from a higher consumption of sugar, to a larger, more overweight population. However, gum disease may also be linked to diabetes. People with gum disease have a harder time regulating their blood sugar levels, and that can be what opens the door for diabetes.
#3: Osteoporosis Can Start With Your Teeth
Tooth loss isn’t considered a big deal to most of us. Unless it’s a tooth right in front, we can stand to part with one or two of the back row, if it means the problem teeth go away. However, a loss of teeth, and of the periodontal bone in general, can be a contributing factor to osteoporosis. This isn’t just for older people, either, even though osteoporosis is typically thought of as a disease that primarily affects senior citizens.
#4: An Early Warning For Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is another of those conditions we tend to associate with senior citizens. However, there’s no written rule that says you have to be a certain age to have this disease. If the conditions are right (or wrong, depending on your point of view), then this disease can manifest. One of the signs that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease is tooth loss before the age of 35. So while it isn’t a cause-and-effect relationship, there is a certain amount of correlation that has made a loss of teeth something that can’t be ignored.
#5: Periodontitis and Premature Birth
Babies are a lot like cakes; you need to make sure they have all the proper ingredients, and enough time to fully develop. Premature birth is a huge risk for a baby, and it’s a risk that can be increased by poor oral health. Periodontitis, in particular, is a condition that’s been linked to premature births, and all of the complications and problems that come along with it.
#6: Infections of All Shapes and Sizes
Your body is armored and policed in order to keep out infections. However, any chink in that armor is going to provide a way in for unwanted things. Poor oral health can turn your mouth into a wide-open doorway for infections, and if your body is busy trying to fight off a war with gum disease, or tooth decay, it won’t have the resources to stop other infections using that as an entry point to your body.