Your oral health can have a significant impact on your overall health. There may be a connection between oral infections — primarily gum infections — and health issues like cardiovascular disease, poorly controlled diabetes, and preterm birth.
Oral health problems have been linked to the following health concerns:
You may know that having diabetes can put you at an increased risk of developing gum disease. But what you might not know that it may work both ways. Chronic gum disease may also make diabetes more difficult to control because infection may cause insulin resistance, which disrupts blood sugar control.
The oral inflammation caused by gingivitis may play a role in the development of clogged arteries and blood clots. Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation of the arteries (and other parts of the body), which in turn may promote the development of plaque in the arteries, possibly increasing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Gum disease and tooth loss may also contribute to an increase in plaques in the carotid artery.
The risk of preterm delivery is higher in patients with severe gum disease. The theory behind this is that oral bacteria release toxins, which travel through the mother's bloodstream to the placenta, and interferes with the development of the fetus. The oral infection may also cause the mother to produce labor-triggering substances too soon, potentially resulting premature labor and birth.
Bacteria & Viruses
Saliva is an important defence mechanism against disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. The antibodies in saliva attack viral pathogens like the common cold and HIV. This means that it is important to stay hydrated so that you continue to produce ample amounts of saliva to help you fight disease.
Keeping Your Smile Healthy
If you didn't already have enough reasons to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and clean, the connection between your oral health and your overall health provides extra incentive. Practicing good oral hygiene every day is an investment in the health of your whole body, and should not be taken lightly!