Do you know that your oral health offers important clues about your overall health? Do you know that dental or oral problems can affect the rest of your body? This blog article aims to help you learn more about the relation between oral health and overall health.
The relation between oral health and overall health
It's known that the mouth is full of bacteria (mostly harmless), just like any other area of the body. Nevertheless, the mouth is the door towards digestive and respiratory systems, and some of the bacteria in the mouth can cause some serious diseases.
Here are listed some diseases and health conditions that can be linked to oral health:
Endocarditis: it is an inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium) caused by a bacterial or, rarely, a fungal infection. In other words, it typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of the body, such as the mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease: it is a general term used to describe conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels. It's usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and an increased risk of blood clots.Although the connection between oral health and cardiovascular disease is not fully understood, many research papers claim that there is high quality evidence to support an association between cardiovascular disease and oral health. This evidence is mainly related to the association between chronic periodontitis and atherosclerotic heart disease.
Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontitis has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight.
Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. The risk of pneumonia is greatest when periodontal disease, dental caries, and poor oral hygiene are compounded by swallowing disease and eating disorders.
The relation between certain diseases and oral health
It's important to know that certain health conditions and diseases might affect oral health. Here are some conditions that we can list:
Diabetes: There is a strong body of evidence that supports the relationship between oral health and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In fact, by reducing the body's resistance to infection, diabetes puts your gums at risk. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
Osteoporosis: several studies investigating the relationship between this bone-weakening disease and oral health suggest that osteoporosis may be associated with oral health conditions such as periodontal disease, reduced jaw bone density and tooth loss. Certain drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw. Moreover, bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaws is a major concern to the dentist.
Alzheimer's disease: Patients with Alzheimer disease suffer from impaired cognitive function and a compromised ability to perform activities of daily living such as oral hygiene. In consequence, the oral health of these patients gets worse and worse as the disease progresses.
It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive; it can still extend to other diseases and health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, eating disorders, certain cancers and disorders of the immune system.
It is undeniable that oral health has an impact on overall health and vice versa, certain health conditions and diseases have an impact on oral health. However, the lesson we can draw or learn remains the same in both cases; it is very important to take care of your oral health to preserve your overall health or to prevent your oral health from deteriorating further. Good oral hygiene, regular visits to the doctor and awareness are the key elements to maintaining both oral and overall health.
|Read more : Dental hygiene: what you need to know!
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