In the West, we tend to compartmentalise our oral health, segmenting it from the rest of the body. But that approach is almost entirely artificial. There’s no real reason for doing it. Any child can tell you that the mouth is a part of the body.
What’s interesting, though, is how what happens in your mouth affects the rest of your health. A toothache isn’t just something that affects your teeth and gums, but also your organs, mind and even heart.
In this post, we explore some of the specific ways your oral health impacts your entire body. Check them out below.
You wouldn’t think that oral health would have an effect on diabetes, right? Well, it turns out that it does. Oral inflammation causes body-wide inflammation which, in turn, makes it more difficult to shuttle sugar into cells. And that can lead to a drop in insulin sensitivity that pushes you into the diabetic range.
Oral health issues can also cause respiratory infections. Bacteria from the teeth and gums can lead to infections in the lungs, including pneumonia. These conditions are not so serious when you are young. But if they strike when you’re older, they can create all kinds of havoc on your health.
It’s hard to believe that poor oral health could lead to heart disease, but it does. It turns out that bacteria from your mouth travel around the rest of your body. Eventually, they enter the blood vessels surrounding the heart and start to do damage. When they get here, they restrict blood flow, encourage the formation of plaques, and can even generate embolisms that cause strokes and heart attacks.
Dentists such as Bowral Street Dental Practice focus intently on issues such as gingivitis – or gum disease. The reason for this is simple: there is evidence that certain bacterial overgrowths can lead to cognitive decline in older age. Oral bacteria might have something to do with the development of Alzheimer’s disease since the risk is higher for people with periodontal disease.
There are two types of arthritis: rheumatoid and osteopathic. The rheumatoid version occurs when the body’s immune system begins mistakenly attacking tissues in the joints, causing them to decay.
Under normal conditions, the immune system is relaxed and doesn’t attack the body’s own tissue. However, if you have chronic inflammation in your mouth, the risks of rheumatoid arthritis begin to rise. That’s because bacteria are constantly signalling to the immune system that it needs to be on alert.
You can actually improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by improving your oral health. Simple changes to your diet, lifestyle and brushing technique can eliminate bacteria from your mouth and set you on the path to health.
Lastly, poor oral health can lead to depression. For instance, oral health issues can make some people feel awkward in social situations and, therefore, unwilling to leave the house. Other times, inflammatory compounds can actually get into the brain, causing the person to feel anxious or tired.
This is a collaborative Post.