8 Fascinating Ways Your Oral Health Is Associated with Your General Health

Understanding the mouth-body connection

The Mouth-Body Connection

Taking care of your oral health is vital to ensuring a strong and beautiful smile. However, there’s more to it than that. The mouth-body connection impacts your health in many ways, with seemingly unrelated systems relying on good oral health.

How does oral health affect general health? In these eight fascinating ways and more.

1. Gum disease can impact your heart health.

Gum disease is among the most important factors in the connection between oral and general health. When your gums are infected by the bacteria naturally present in your oral microbiome, you can experience a range of issues that increase your risk of other conditions.

People with gum disease are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke. The relationship between these two elements isn’t fully understood; it may be related to shared risk factors such as smoking and age. However, inflammation due to gum disease can also have an impact on your circulatory health.

2. Diabetes and gum disease are closely linked.

Gum disease and diabetes have a complex relationship, with each condition being a risk factor for the other. Inflammation caused by gum disease can lead to higher blood sugar levels, which can contribute to diabetes or make it more difficult to manage.

Diabetes also increases the risk of gum disease. It can increase sugar levels in saliva, providing an environment for bacteria to grow. Additionally, many people with diabetes produce less saliva, which increases the risk of gum disease.

3. Gum disease increases your risk of respiratory issues.

Gum disease is linked with a range of serious respiratory issues. The bacteria in your mouth can spread to the respiratory tract and lungs, potentially causing an infection.

Pneumonia is among the most serious respiratory risks associated with gum disease. Bacterial infections can be dangerous, especially in older adults and individuals with existing respiratory conditions.

4. Pregnancy puts you at higher risk of gum disease.

Increased gum disease is incredibly common in pregnant women—so common that “pregnancy gingivitis” is a widely used term. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, and hormonal changes during pregnancy make it easier for bacteria to take hold.

Many pregnant women experience signs of gingivitis, such as sore, swollen, or bleeding gums. In most cases, the gums return to normal following the pregnancy. However, there is a risk of the condition progressing to a serious infection during pregnancy.

5. Not getting the vitamins you need can cause tooth decay.

Diet has a major impact on the health of your teeth, with sugary and acidic foods contributing to tooth decay. However, a poor diet can also play a role in tooth decay and cavities when you don’t get the vitamins you need.

Several vitamins and minerals are vital for healthy teeth. Of course, you need to get enough calcium. However, you also need vitamins A, D, and K to ensure proper absorption of that calcium.

6. GERD can seriously impact your smile.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a serious form of acid reflux that involves stomach acid regularly flowing back up into your esophagus. Among other issues, GERD can lead to tooth decay. If stomach acid reaches your mouth, it wears away and weakens tooth enamel.

7. The gut-brain connection can affect your mental health.

We’ve talked about the link between oral health and general health, but it’s also vital to address the link to mental health. Your gastrointestinal tract and emotions are connected, and an imbalance of bacteria in the gut can cause anxiety and other issues. Since your oral microbiome affects gastrointestinal health, it can also affect your mental health.

8. Anxiety and stress can damage your teeth and jaw.

Anxiety and stress can have a serious impact on your teeth. If you feel anxious or stressed, you might clench your jaw or grind your teeth. These habits harm your teeth over time, making them more sensitive and susceptible to tooth decay.

You should make sure to bring up concerns about jaw clenching or tooth grinding during your next routine visit with your family dentist in Boise, ID. The impact on your teeth is serious, and these habits can also lead to TMJ disorder and associated jaw pain.

Take care of your oral and whole-body health.

Take care of your oral health and enjoy the whole-body health benefits that come with it. Check back with us, and we’ll provide a comprehensive list of changes you can make to address these important areas of your health.

If you’re concerned about your oral health, reach out to your family dentist in Boise, ID, at Staley Dental. We provide the preventive dentistry and other procedures you need to stay healthy and happy. Schedule your appointment today for your and your family’s dental needs.