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Poor Oral Health Can Affect Your Entire Body

Over the past decade, doctors and dentists have worked together to understand exactly what the connection is between oral health problems and the rest of the body. Research has proven significantly that gum disease has a serious effect on several diseases and other health concerns. Our dentist, Dr. Shelley A. Sigur, and her hygienists study these links between the mouth and the body and strongly believe poor oral health affects your whole body. We have experienced this connection with some of our patients, and we stress to all of our patients to always practice good dental habits to not only protect their mouths, but to also prevent further damage to their entire bodies. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other health issues, and the reason is the inflammation and infection in the gums puts the entire body at risk for health problems. We would like to tell you more about the links between poor oral health and certain diseases.



The strongest connection between gum disease and the body, diabetes develops complications because inflammation that begins in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to control blood sugar, according to WebMD. Since diabetic people lack the hormone insulin, they have a difficult time converting sugar into energy. As inflammation from gum disease worsens diabetes, high blood sugar from diabetes creates a favorable environment for infection to thrive within the body, including in the mouth. Often, fortunately, managing one of these diseases helps control the other.


Around 91% of heart disease patients have gum disease, compared to 61% of people with no heart disease. Both conditions have the same risk factors, like smoking, eating poorly, and being overweight, but some medical experts believe inflammation in the mouth causes inflamed blood vessels. This raises blood pressure because less blood is able to flow between the heart and the rest of the body. Fatty plaque also adds a risk factor for a heart attack or a stroke because a piece of plaque could break off the wall of a blood vessel and travel to the heart or to the brain.


The link between these two conditions is controversial as it has not been well-established; however, bone loss is suffered as a result of both conditions. Medical researchers are working on proving a theory that inflammation from gum disease also weakens bones in other parts of the body. Studies have shown that women with osteoporosis have gum disease more often than women who do not.


As studying the mouth-body connection is fairly new, researchers are just beginning to look at more conditions affected by poor oral health. Because it increases the amount of bacteria in the lungs, gum disease worsens bronchial disorders like pneumonia and COPD. People with rheumatoid arthritis have reported a reduction in pain after being treated for gum disease. As medical and dental experts continue to study how gum disease affects the body, you can expect to see more health problems become linked to poor oral health.

Taking good care of your teeth and gums can improve the health of your entire body. Contact West Meade Dental to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined to promote overall health.

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