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How Poor Dental Care Can Affect Your Overall Health

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

You've heard that classic ditty that talks about your bones, right? Your toe bone is connected to your foot bone, which is connected to your heel bone, and so forth. While that speaks to your skeletal system, your entire body is interconnected similarly. What this means in dental terms is that your dental health can affect your overall health. While a cavity may not affect your endocrine system, severe gum disease could impact your health well beyond your mouth. Note how your oral health can affect your well-being below and what you can do about it today.

Health Areas of Concern

Your teeth, tongue, and entire mouth are vital when it comes to your oral health. However, when we take a step back and look at your oral anatomy, gums, also known as your gingiva, have the most significant influence on your overall health. More specifically, unhealthy gums can affect your health in many ways. We dive deeper into those areas of concern below:

  • Heart disease
    The bacteria from inflammation of the gum disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart leading to:
    • Atherosclerosis
      • When plaque develops on and thickens your arteries' inner walls, your blood flow is decreased through the body, leading to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
    • Endocarditis
      • The inner lining of the heart (endocardium) can also become infected and inflamed.
  • Dementia
    • Gingivitis bacteria can enter your brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream, possibly leading to Alzheimer's disease.
  • Respiratory infections
    • Inhaling bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long period could lead to infections in the lungs, as well as pneumonia.
  • Diabetic complications
    • Periodontal disease can make your blood sugar difficult to control and make your diabetes worse. People with diabetes are also prone to periodontal disease. It's a vicious cycle.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • The more tooth loss due to gum disease, the higher the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Establish Good Hygiene Habits

There is good news amid all of this disease. And that is, it can easily be avoided or affected by your everyday oral hygiene decisions. So how do you do that? Good question. The answer is twofold:

  1. Proper dental care
    • That's for you and your entire family. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing and antibacterial mouth rinse daily. No exceptions.
    • If you're already having issues with your gum health, choose a toothpaste to battle gum disease directly.
  2. Dental check-ups
    • Get in to see your dentist at least twice a year. They can give you a high-powered cleaning, help keep your gums healthy, and answer any oral health questions you may have.

Every part of our body needs and should be cared for, while every aspect of our body's health can affect other parts and systems. It's not something we should take lightly. A healthy oral hygiene routine will do wonders for your teeth, mouth, and smile from a dental perspective. And that should keep the rest of your body smiling as well.