Are you overdue for recommended dental care in your treatment plan with us? Have you been putting off having your hygiene maintenance appointments and gotten a little behind in your cleanings and dental exams? It turns out you may not just be compromising the health of your smile. Increasingly, health studies show that there is a direct link between your oral health and your risk for developing serious, even life-threatening health conditions.
Here are four of the most health conditions that can pose a risk to your overall health if you neglect or delay necessary dental care:
- Advanced Gum Disease
The side effects of advanced gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease, can not only compromise the health of your smile. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of bacteria along and under the gum line. While that may not sound like an overall health threat, the effects of that buildup can have serious consequences.
If left untreated, gum disease can cause your gums to bleed, develop painful inflammation, and allow for the formation of deep pockets between your teeth and gum. These pockets allow even more bacteria to collect which over time can cause you teeth to become loose, effecting the proper alignment of your bite.
In more advanced stages of gum disease, it can cause the erosion of your jawbone. Without a healthy jawbone to anchor your teeth, permanent tooth loss can occur.
- Cardiovascular Disease
The bacterial buildup that is characteristic of gum disease can lead to one of the more serious threats to your overall health: cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that bacteria from the mouth can make its way into the bloodstream causing hardening of the arteries.
Hardening of the arteries in turn restricts normal blood flow within the body, causing heart blockages which lead to a higher potential for life-threatening heart attacks. Damage to the arteries can also result in hypertension, or high blood pressure, increasing the risk of strokes.
- Respiratory Infections
The mouth is one of the gateways to the lungs. When large amounts of bacteria are present in the mouth, from either gum disease or infected teeth, it can inadvertently be breathed into the lungs. It can also be introduced into the lungs through the bloodstream, like with cardiovascular disease.
When the bacterium from the mouth enters the lungs, it can cause mild to severe respiratory infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is commonly known as COPD. Frequent respiratory infections can have long-term health consequences, including lowered immunity, fatigue and a higher-than-normal risk for developing asthma.
- Diabetes Complications
People with diabetes tend to have higher amounts of glucose in their saliva, so they are more likely to develop gum disease. Additionally, people with diabetes are also more prone to infections, which can lead to a more rapid progression of gum disease.
The infections caused by gum disease can make a person’s diabetes harder to keep under control. Gum disease can also cause higher than normal blood sugar levels which may be harder to regulate with diet or insulin.
At TDA, we are not only concerned with the health of your smile; we are equally concerned with your overall health! You can help prevent these serious health risks not only by practicing good home oral care habits and scheduling bi-annual dental hygiene visits, but also by making recommended oral health care treatments a priority!
Protect the health of your teeth and the health of your body by calling our office today to schedule your next oral health cleaning and check-up!