Maintaining good oral health goes beyond a bright smile and fresh breath 一 although those are important! There’s a strong connection between oral health and overall well-being, so neglecting your oral hygiene can have far-reaching consequences.
Below, Dr. Hinna Chaudhry at Ardsley Dental Spa in Ardsley, New York, explores the link between your oral and overall health, highlighting the significance of oral hygiene in maintaining a healthy body and what we can do to help.
How oral health affects overall health
Numerous studies show that poor oral health can contribute to various systemic conditions. Gum disease, in particular, has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight.
The bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream, affecting other parts of the body and potentially leading to serious health complications.
The inflammation caused by gum disease can contribute to atherosclerosis, when your arteries become clogged with plaque. The resulting hardening increases your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems.
The good news, researchers say, is that treating gum disease (periodontitis) can mitigate this risk. According to a 2022 study, periodontal treatments helped lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals.
People with diabetes are prone to developing gum disease due to impaired blood sugar control. Conversely, gum disease can make it more challenging to control blood sugar levels.
It’s a vicious cycle, so individuals with diabetes must be especially vigilant about their oral hygiene routine and regular dental check-ups to minimize the risk of complications.
Your oral health can also impact your respiratory system. Bacteria from gum disease can be inhaled into the lungs and exacerbate respiratory infections such as pneumonia and conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Researchers found that gum disease rates are higher in patients with COPD than in those without. Maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking treatment for gum disease can help reduce the risk of respiratory complications.
Dental issues, including stained teeth, missing teeth, and decay, can impact your mental and social health. Being embarrassed about your teeth may cause self-esteem issues that ripple into your professional and personal relationships.
How your overall health affects your oral health
Just as oral health can affect your overall health, certain medical conditions can impact the health of your mouth.
For instance, individuals undergoing cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation may experience side effects such as dry mouth or mouth sores and be at greater risk of infections.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Taking care of your oral health is integral to a healthy lifestyle. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly are essential for preventing oral diseases and preserving overall health.
Eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients, avoiding tobacco products, and drinking alcohol in moderation also contribute to a healthy mouth and body.
An undeniable connection
The connection between oral and overall health is undeniable, and taking steps to improve your oral health can have long-lasting benefits.
Whether you need a cleaning, oral cancer screening, or gum disease treatment, our team is here to help. To schedule an appointment, call us at 914-875-2049 or book your appointment online today.