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Your Mouth, Your Health: Understanding the Oral-Systemic Health Link

March 8, 2021

During the pandemic, many patients have skipped dental appointments. And because of something called the oral-systemic health link, they’re now at risk for a chronic, debilitating disease, or even death.  The Mayo Clinic explains that because the mouth is the gateway to your body, small problems in the mouth can cause huge issues for your overall health.

Bleeding Gums, Broken Heart

One of the largest effects oral health has is on the cardiovascular system.  Gum disease can cause big problems:

  • Bleeding gums allow oral bacteria to get into your bloodstream. They can travel to the heart and cause an infection known as endocarditis
  • Periodontitis raises the levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol that can clog your arteries
  • Gum disease also accelerates the hardening of the arteries
  • Together, these effects put you at more risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

Chronic Inflammation is Bad for Every System

It's not just the heart. Chronic inflammation from gum disease can also trigger disease processes that end in conditions like Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.  Gum issues are especially dangerous for pregnant women.  Periodontitis is a major risk factor for preterm birth and low birthweight babies.  

Breath of Life

Your oral health also impacts your breathing, and from there your entire body.  For instance, bacteria from your mouth can be inhaled into your lungs. Once there, they can cause pneumonia and permanent lung damage.

Your mouth also affects your sleep breathing.  Infected or abscessed teeth can impact your sinuses, leading to Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome. (UARS).  Your jaw, tongue, and teeth can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA.)  If you can't breathe when you sleep, your health suffers, putting you at high risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, and dementia.

Oral Systemic Health and COVID-19

You may have noticed that many of the health problems caused by untreated tooth and gum problems are also risk factors for worse COVID-19 outcomes.  Ignoring your oral health can be dangerous.

How do you avoid all these oral-systemic health complications?  By getting regular dental care, so we can stop problems before they get out of hand.  Call today for your next appointment! Our office is following COVID-19 safety protocols and able to treat medically fragile patients safely.

 

Mann Family Dental

9 Roosevelt Street
Manchester, NH 03102
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