What's the connection between oral health and overall health?
Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
- Endocarditis. Gum disease and dental procedures that cut your gums may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, this can cause infection in other parts of the body — such as an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis).
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to chronic inflammation from periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease.
- Pregnancy and birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. In addition, people who have inadequate blood sugar control may develop more-frequent and severe infections of the gums and the bone that holds teeth in place, and they may lose more teeth than do people who have good blood sugar control.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer's disease. Tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
- Other conditions. Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder — and eating disorders.
How can I protect my oral health?
|Eat Healthy Foods Daily|
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Floss daily.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.