Our entire lives have been spent brushing and flossing daily, and making the semi-annual trips to the dentist to ensure our oral health is intact. We do this for the health of our teeth and gums, but there are many other reasons it’s important to stay on top of your cleaning regime.

You’d be surprised by just how many conditions or habits can take a toll on your oral health, and impact other areas of your body. Furthermore, having poor oral health can be a direct result of some ailments.

Learning about these connections can help to keep us healthy, informed, and on the right track when it comes to proper healthcare. So, let’s look at the conditions most commonly linked to oral health, and any potential causes of these illnesses.

Cardiovascular Disease

There is research that suggests the inflammation and infections caused by the presence of oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease and stroke later in life.

In 2012, the American Heart Association reviewed this evidence and stated that while it is not concrete, there are some indications that the two are related. These relations include:

● Strong evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment, along with strong connections between cardiovascular disease, and diabetes in general

● Periodontitis is associated with a higher risk of the development of heart disease

● An increased risk of a bacterial infection is seen when a patient has poor dental health. This infection can affect the bloodstream, which can also impact the heart valves.

● Tooth loss has seen connections to coronary artery disease

Poor dental health also has the potential to increase the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can directly affect the heart. It’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy, visit the dentist often, and be aware of any changes to your oral and general health.

Endocarditis

This complicated word simply means an infection of the lining of the heart. This can happen when there is a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can leach into the bloodstream if there is any bleeding in the gums.

This condition is more uncommon than others, and antibiotics can be given to patients affected prior to procedures to address any possible risks. Good oral health will work to prevent this condition, and antibiotics prior to any procedure will ensure your wellbeing throughout.

Osteoporosis

This condition poses a specific risk to your jawbone. Because osteoporosis can damage the bone, tooth loss and weak, brittle teeth can become common.

Osteoporosis also has the potential to cause gum or periodontal diseases. Since osteoporosis and periodontal disease are both bone destructive diseases, it has been hypothesized that osteoporosis can pose a risk for the development of periodontal disease.

Those higher in age are more at risk for developing osteoporosis, but anyone can develop periodontal disease. It’s important to consult with your dental specialist if you’re experiencing symptoms of either.

Diabetes

Diabetes reduces your body’s natural ability to fight off infection, leaving room for your oral health to be impacted if you aren’t careful about taking proper care of your mouth. More than ¼ of Canadians are living with fully onset or prediabetes, meaning they are more prone to oral infection.

High levels of sugar in the blood can also increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease.

Diabetes can often cause dry mouth, which is harmful when it comes to the state of your oral health. Dry mouth reduces the necessary flow of saliva to the mouth, commonly resulting in the two issues mentioned above.

The best ways to combat dry mouth and the impact of it are to drink plenty of water throughout the day in small increments, use over the counter products such as mouth moisturizers, or chew sugarless gum.

If you needed a push to stick to your brushing regime or keep your appointment at the dentist, this could be it!

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