A Holistic Approach to Dental Health: How The State of Your Gum and Teeth Affects Your Overall Wellness

Are you aware that the health of your mouth goes hand-in- hand with your body?
You may already know some ways to keep your body healthy and fit through your lifetime.
These include exercising on a regular basis, eating right, and getting enough hours of sleep. But
how you take care of your teeth and gums can also affect your general health and well-being.
Your mouth is a window giving insights into what is happening inside your body. It acts as a
vantage point for diagnosing most systemic diseases at their early stages. By checking your
mouth, your doctor can detect early signs and symptoms of diseases that affect your entire
body. So keeping a proper oral hygiene routine and investing in preventative dentistry services
are crucial to boost your health and well-being.
To better understand the relationship between the condition of your mouth and your body,
here are five ways on how your oral health impacts the rest of you.

Teeth Grinding and Joint Health

Frequent and severe bruxism or teeth grinding can aggravate your temporomandibular joints
(TMJ) or lower jaw joints. And this can result in tightness or pain in the joint area, along with
headaches and earaches.
Of course, this habit is not good for your teeth as well because it can wear down your teeth’s
precious enamel. Teeth grinding causes increased teeth sensitivity and results in broken or
chipped teeth.

Oral Health and Heart Health

Several studies have shown that inflammation in the gums can increase one’s risk of heart
disease and stroke. The reason for such is that gum disease increases the level of inflammation
throughout your entire body.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina School Of Dentistry discovered that people with
periodontal disease are twice as likely to die from a heart attack and thrice more likely to
have a stroke than those without periodontal disease.
Your dentist must ask you about your heart health whereas your cardiologist must examine
your oral health as a problem in one area can signal trouble in the other.

Oral Health and Lung Infections

If you have periodontal disease, you have plenty of bacteria breeding in your mouth. Most
likely, you will inhale germs that can lead to pneumonia and other lung infections. And if you
have pre-existing lung problems, the inflammation of your gums can make it worse.

Oral Health and Diabetes

Persons with diabetes are known to be prone to gum disease. But recent studies have shown
that serious gum disease can contribute to diabetes as well.
According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, bacteria that cause periodontal disease
produce toxins that can affect carbohydrate metabolism in cells. Also, the response of your
body to periodontal bacteria can escalate insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. This two-
way link is already an excellent reason for you to take good care of your teeth and gums,
especially since the incidence of diabetes is rapidly increasing.

Oral Health and Pregnancy

Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to deliver preterm, develop gestational
diabetes, or have a low-birth- weight baby.
Babies born preterm or with low birth weights have an increased risk of complications. These
include asthma, birth abnormalities, behavioral difficulties, ear infections and developmental
problems. Moreover, it can increase the risk of infant death.
So during pregnancy, regular checkups with your dentist are crucial. Moreover, you have to
make the extra effort to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong, not only for yourself but
also for your baby.

Undeniably, your mouth and body are connected. Knowing the established links between
mouth and body health will give you even more solid and urgent reasons to care for your
mouth in a more mindful and diligent manner.
By practicing good oral hygiene daily and visiting your dentist regularly, you are making an
investment in your health and wellbeing, not just for today but for the future as well.

AUTHOR BIO

Dr. Yvette Porter is the founding dentist at Apple Dental in Newstead, Brisbane, which she
started over 11 years ago, and continues to own and practice there today. She works with a
team of female dentists who aim to provide gentle, and affordable dental care to patients in
Brisbane. Dr. Porter is a member of the Australian Dental Association and is passionate about
family, and children’s dentistry, hoping to make their dental experience truly pleasant.

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