Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Many people fail to understand (and value) the strong link between oral health and overall health. You may hear this referred to as oral systemic health or the “mouth-body connection.” Regardless of what you call it, the relationship between mouth and body is one that needs to more attention.
Dental problems don’t always stay in the mouth. Gum disease is a perfect example. Gum disease begins when plaque builds up and hardens along the gum line. What starts as puffy, red or bleeding gums can quickly progress into a more advanced stage of gum infection if it is not treated. Not only is gum disease the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, but it can also contribute to several serious overall health conditions.
When excessive bacteria accumulates in the pockets between inflamed gums and teeth, it can enter the bloodstream and become a systemic concern. Bacteria from gum disease that escapes past the mouth can aggravate existing problems in the body as well as create new ones.
The following conditions are associated with periodontal disease:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature birth and low birth weight
- Alzheimer’s disease
If you have gum disease, it doesn’t mean you will automatically get Alzheimer’s or have a heart attack. However, it does mean that you may be at a greater risk for these serious conditions. Fortunately, we can prevent many overall health concerns by simply taking care of our mouth.
Prevention is Key
To help protect your overall health, take the following steps towards your dental health:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss daily
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed
- Schedule regular dental checkups
Start the New Year off right by scheduling your routine dental cleaning at Liberty Lake Smile Source. We can eliminate the harmful substances in your mouth that could threaten your whole-body health.