The Surprising Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Wellbeing

If you’re worried about your skin, you’d schedule an appointment with a dermatologist; while experiencing any heart palpitations will send you straight to your cardiologist’s clinic. It’s only natural, as we try to understand the intricacies of the human body, that we target all those issues separately in order to pinpoint the cause. More often than not, discovering the root issue means taking a holistic approach and understanding the big picture, as the cause may lie elsewhere.

For example, your pearly whites are not just the first step of the digestive process. They are linked to a vast number of health concerns that you wouldn’t normally expect to be connected to your teeth or gums. In fact, tending to your oral health means investing in your overall wellbeing in more ways than one. Here are a few to keep in mind the next time you pick your toothbrush and your toothpaste – you might find yourself inspired to go for the more high quality kind.

Gum health and blood sugar levels

When you think of diabetes, you most likely never make the connection between your gum and teeth health and your risk of this vicious disease. You know that poor dietary choices, mostly based on sugary foods that cause insulin resistance are the ones to blame for diabetes or pre-diabetes at the very least. However, you’d be surprised to learn that your gums actually play a role in the process.

Chronic inflammation caused by high blood sugar levels can actually be worsened by periodontal disease, which is also caused by inflammation in your gums. The infection in your gums tends to worsen the state of your health by preventing proper glucose control in your blood, thus adding to your risk of diabetes. 

Plaque and pneumonia

The bacteria that reside in that plaque buildup on your teeth can do more harm than you can anticipate. Add gum inflammation into the mix, and the spreading of bacteria found in your mouth can be much faster, and more dangerous, since you can inhale them directly into your lungs, causing or worsening pneumonia, bronchitis, and similar respiratory issues. This is one of the main reasons I choose to check my teeth for plaque buildup or redness on my gums regularly.

If you notice even the most subtle signs of inflammation, sensitivity, or plaque, look for the best dentist around your neighbourhood to make sure your teeth are in perfect order, and if not, to get the proper treatment in time. This is why prevention is so pivotal, not just for your teeth and the beauty of your smile, but your long-term wellbeing. 

Keeping dementia at bay

Who knew that brain degenerative diseases the likes of Alzheimer’s could have anything to do with your oral health? Recent research suggests that one of those sneaky, underlying causes could be the inflammation in your gums. To be even more specific, the bacteria that cause your gum disease can increase your risk of dementia and worsen the existing condition.

However, in addition to regular brushing, my dentist has cautioned me against vigorous brushing that can lead to gum bleeding. This can only worsen any existing inflammation and spread the bacteria through the bloodstream and to the brain with greater ease. To sum up, brush regularly, floss and care for your teeth, but be gentle!

Cancer risk and your oral health

With so many different kinds of cancer, it can be daunting to keep track of all the risk factors involved in the disease and its cause. Knowing your teeth is one of those key steps in your hygiene that can help you reduce cancer risk, since certain habits pertaining to your oral health are considered major causes of these vicious diseases. For starters, quit smoking!

Add to that, your gum health is another factor to keep in mind, just in case the previous health issues weren’t inspiration enough. Different types of cancer, from pancreatic to kidney have been linked to gum disease as one of those factors that can make a difference. 

Inflammation and heart disease

Finally, the very same bacteria that can be blamed for your lung issues, respiratory diseases, as well as brain degeneration, have been linked to cardiovascular problems in the long run. These inflammation-causing bacteria can lead to plaque in your arteries, not just your teeth, and thus lead to circulation problems. Chronic inflammation in your gums can lead to a heart attack or a stroke, or at the very least contribute to their onset.

 

Think of your body as an intricate but connected system that functions as a whole. That way, you’ll be more inclined to take care of your overall health, and pay more attention to those little choices you make every day, such as to floss or not to floss, to take that dentist’s appointment or skip it altogether. Keep your oral health in check, and you’ll contribute to your long-term health, too.


Photos: Pixabay

 

Dr Brandt Skincare
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