A significant connection exists between our oral health and our overall physical well-being. Just because we go to the dentist we are thinking primarily of our teeth and gums does not mean we are not at the same time taking care of our general health
The Mouth is One of Our Gateways to the World
As the eyes are often termed the window to the soul, the mouth is the body’s gateway to the world. What we eat has a direct effect on our energy, stress-level, and health. Actions related to the mouth, such as nail-biting and smoking reveal our inner feelings and directly display themselves in our teeth and gums. Good overall health is best
maintained by attending to oral health and the other way around.
Gum Disease is Connection a Number of Other Chronic Condition
According to reports from the CDC, as many as half of American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. Gingivitis, begins as the result of plaque building up and irritating the gums. This causes tenderness, swelling, and infection. As time goes on, and gingivitis remains untreated, it can worsen into a condition called periodontitis, which weakens the underlying support structures of the teeth.
Additionally, studies have suggested gum disease goes not only affect the structures within the mouth, but can have an affect on a number of other chronic physical conditions.
Diabetics have a more difficult time fighting off harmful bacteria and this makes it far easier for them to develop gum disease and harder to keep it under control. In its turn, gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels and manage diabetes. These two factors contribute to the unfortunate fact that nearly a quarter of diabetics also have gum disease.
Men with gum disease are 30% more likely to develop blood cancers, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer than those whose gums are disease-free.
Cancer treatments can adversely affect oral health. Chemotherapy and radiation frequently have side effects like dry mouth, sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, and facial and jaw pain.
Although the reasons for this are unclear, heart disease and gum disease appear to be connected. As many as 9 out of every 10 people with heart disease also have gum disease. Inflammation may be the link between these two conditions.
Gum disease is also linked to many other physical conditions such as kidney disease lung problems, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and strokes. In pregnant women, gum disease has been linked to preterm births and low birth weights.
A Healthier Mouth Means a Healthier Body
These connections between gum disease and chronic physical conditions can at first appear frightening. However, gum disease is preventable and treatable, should it occur. Maintain good oral hygiene habits like brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day and flossing at least once per day.
Schedule regular dental appointments and keep your dentist up-to-date on any additions to your medical history and any health concerns.
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