Did you know that your dental health impacts your overall health and vice versa? Taking care of your teeth and your gums can positively affect the rest of your body. While dentists take care of your mouth and medical doctors take care of the rest of your body, your head is still connected to your body. There is no invisible wall dividing the two parts. Instead, there is plenty of overlap. In fact, your mouth is the place where the first signs of certain diseases show up. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to see your dentist regularly so they can identify them. For example, gum disease has been linked with heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that causes bone loss, destroyed ligaments, tooth loss, and inflamed gums. It has also been linked to inflammation in other parts of the body. In people with heart disease, bacteria found in plaque build-up on blood vessel walls has been identified as the same bacteria found in the mouth. This plaque build-up, in addition to the inflammation of the blood vessels, decreases the space where blood can flow, leading to high blood pressure. This decreased area for blood to flow can lead to blood clot formation. If this clot breaks away, it can lead to a stroke.
Since gum disease is a type of infection, it can negatively affect people with diabetes. Any type of infection stresses the body's immune system and impairs its ability to heal. The inflammation from gum disease also has an effect on the body's insulin resistance and can cause a person's blood glucose to be out of control. Therefore, control in one area can help with control in the other. In other words, people who can control their diabetes through diet, exercise, and insulin injections will be better able to control their gum disease. People who control their gum disease by having good oral hygiene and visiting their dentist regularly will be able to better control their diabetes. These two diseases go hand in hand.
There are other conditions that have been linked to gum disease, such as pregnancy complications, arthritis, and certain cancers (such as pancreatic cancer). However, these links are not as strong. It should be noted that while these diseases have been linked, it doesn't necessarily mean that one causes the other. In summary, it is important to know that you cannot be healthy without health gums. Do you know that state of your gum health?