The importance of your oral health to your overall health is more significant than you may realize. The health of your teeth, gums and mouth can greatly affect the function of many other areas of the body. Poor oral hygiene can cause plaque to build up in the mouth, creating an environment that is conducive to the growth and spread of harmful bacteria. Here are three primary ways that oral health impacts physical health.
Regulating Blood Sugar
A healthy mouth plays an important role in the regulation of the body's blood sugar levels. Likewise, if you already have diabetes, you are automatically more likely to develop gum disease. Chronic gum disease makes it more difficult to keep diabetes in check. Because infection in the gums may cause the body to resist insulin, it is more difficult to control your blood sugar. Regular and consistent periodontal care can help diabetes sufferers to keep the condition under control.
Increasing amounts of research show that there is a link between heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke with the inflammation and infections caused by bacteria in the mouth. Gum infections, such as gingivitis, put added strain on the immune system and can leave the body more susceptible to cardiovascular disease. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to atherosclerosis. This condition of restricted blood flow is the result of too much fat buildup on the artery walls. In order to put your cardiovascular system in the position to function at optimal levels, it is important to pay attention to how you care for your mouth.
A healthy mouth is more likely to lead to a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Medical professionals believe that oral bacteria release toxins, which may reach the placenta and the developing fetus. Oral infections also put the mother at risk of preterm labor and birth. Severe gum disease can also cause the baby to have a low birth weight. While there are some precautions that need to be taken when visiting the dentist while pregnant, it is critically important that moms-to-be exercise prudent oral care.
Your oral health offers a host of clues about the rest of your health profile. You can empower yourself to take control of your health when you learn more about the importance of your oral hygiene as it relates to the rest of your body.
Check out our other blog posts and consider supporting our mission!