Your routine dental checkup is about so much more than keeping those pearly whites beautiful. Your dentist also carefully examines your oral health for tell-tale signs of issues you may not see or feel. This can include everything from a cavity that doesn’t hurt yet to larger underlying health conditions. In fact, numerous studies have found that there is a strong connection between your oral health and overall wellbeing. Find out how taking care of your teeth and gums with regular dental cleanings and checkups can help keep your whole body healthy.
How Is My Oral Health Connected to My Overall Health?
Did you know that most people host anywhere from 34 to 72 different strains of bacteria in their mouth? Thankfully most of these bacteria are harmless and can easily be kept in check with regular brushing and flossing. However, if harmful bacteria are allowed to accumulate, they will attack your mouth and cause issues like tooth decay and gum disease.
Researchers believe that the effects of this bacteria reach far beyond your mouth. Studies show that those with oral infections like gum disease are 40% more likely to have other chronic health conditions. Why is that? A prolonged immune response to gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can trigger the development of systemic inflammatory conditions. Furthermore, if the harmful bacteria in your mouth escapes into your blood stream, it can damage other systems in your body, like your heart or brain.
What Health Conditions Are Linked to My Oral Health?
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more that 90% of systemic or whole-body health issues can present symptoms in the mouth. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to conditions like:
- If an infection in your gums is left untreated, it will eventually begin to attack the jawbone and cause bone loss, which can exacerbate osteoporosis.
- Heart disease. Statistics show that oral infections increase the risk of heart disease. Although it’s not fully understood why, some researchers believe this is due to the chronic inflammation.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Some strains of oral bacteria can travel to the brain and damage nerve cells, causing memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease over time.
How Can Routine Dental Checkups Keep Me Healthy?
Thankfully, you can protect the health of your body and your mouth with a little prevention. While regular brushing and flossing are key factors for maintaining great oral health, getting a dental checkup twice a year is just as important. Treating your mouth to a regular deep cleaning will clear out any harmful bacteria and routine examinations can help you spot and stop issues as early as possible. Your dentist may even be the first to diagnose you with an underlying health concern. When you take care of your smile with a visit to your dentist, your whole body will thank you!
About the Author
At Mt. Holly Family Dentistry, we want to provide you with the comfortable and effective dental care you deserve. We strongly believe that a clean, beautiful smile can have an amazing impact on your overall wellbeing. That’s why our highly skilled team will take the time to clearly explain every treatment and answer every question you have so you can fully understand your own oral health. We’d be happy to create a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve a happy, healthy smile and body, so feel free to contact us via our website or (609) 267-3230.