The mouth-body connection: You may not realize how much your oral health can affect the rest of your body. Before, physicians who saw a patient with heart disease may not think of sending their patient to a gum specialist. But today, with greater understanding of how the health of your mouth can affect the health of your body, many physicians are taking a more holistic approach to their patients’ overall health. The same is true with pregnancy, diabetes, or even Alzheimer’s. These all have an impact on your oral health, and vice-versa.
Inflammation & Your Mouth
Bacteria that isn’t removed from your teeth and builds up into plaque. This can cause inflammation, thus making your gums prone to infection. Your immune system literally attacks your gums to attack the infection, and this, in turn, causes your gums to become inflamed.
Inflamed gums don’t go away on their own. The inflammation will continue until you get the infection under control, but to do this you must remove the problem: the plaque or tartar. Over time, inflammation will eat away at the gums and bone structure. This results in severe gum disease, which can lead to problems in other parts of your body.
Inflammation & Your Body
Inflammation that starts in your mouth may weaken your body’s ability to control your blood sugar. Because of this, you can become more prone to diabetes. If you develop periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, this will further complicate diabetes because the inflammation in your mouth will actually impair your body’s ability to utilize insulin.
It’s crucial to maintain good oral health. Especially as you age, if you are planning to become pregnant, or if you already have a condition like diabetes, you need to keep a close eye on the health of your smile. Problems with your teeth and gums can lead to other issues, or even complicate health issues you already have. Discuss your concerns in your next appointment, and don’t forget to maintain your six-month cleanings!