The health of your mouth is a window into your overall health. Did you know that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Read on to learn why you should take your oral health seriously.
The bacteria in your mouth
Your mouth is full of bacteria, most of which is harmless. Daily brushing and flossing keep bacteria under control. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, then the bacteria in your mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medication and your mouth
Certain medications, including antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants and antidepressants, can reduce saliva flow. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralizes acids that are produced by bacteria in the mouth. If you are concerned about your medications’ affect on your mouth, talk to your prescribing doctor.
Health conditions linked to oral health
Your mouth is the entry point to many systems of your body such as the digestive and respiratory tracts. Certain bacteria from the mouth can move into your lungs and cause pneumonia or other respiratory problems.
Your oral health also has a connection to heart health, even though the connection isn’t fully understood. Studies suggest that heart disease, clogged arteries and strokes may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. Also, when germs from your mouth spread into your bloodstream and attach to your heart, it can cause an infection in the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves, causing what’s called endocarditis.
Conditions that can impact oral health
On the flip side, certain health conditions can negatively affect your oral health. Gum disease is more prevalent among people who have diabetes as that disease reduces the body’s resistance to infection. Osteoporosis can lead to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Alzheimer’s disease is tied to worsening oral health as well.
There are many things you can do to protect your oral health. Ask your doctor during your next appointment for ways to improve your oral health.
Contact our Northern Virginia Dentists
Please call 703-214-3182 to schedule an appointment at Arlington Dental Aesthetics or 703-214-3186 for an appointment at South Riding Smiles. We serve patients in Arlington, South Riding and throughout Northern Virginia.