Your mouth contains million bacteria, most of which are harmless. Neglecting to brush and floss your teeth regularly allows the bacteria to flourish, potentially leading to gum disease and tooth decay. Your body’s natural defenses normally maintain safe levels of bacteria; however, when proper dental hygiene is chronically neglected, bacteria can enter the bloodstream allowing the bacteria to spread to other parts of the body. While brushing and flossing regularly is important, your dental hygienist is able to removed tartar buildup that brushing alone can not. This is why visiting your Fort Lauderdale dentist and dental hygienist twice per year is so important.
More than 90% of systemic diseases, or diseases involving the organs, have oral manifestations that contribute to the disease. However, poor oral hygiene can also be caused by certain conditions. Some conditions linked to poor oral health include:
Diabetes – When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of gingivitis, periodontitis, and cavities.
HIV/AIDS –People living with HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to infections including dental infections, which can affect their overall health.
Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that causes bones to become capable of breaking easily and can lead to low bone density, causing a major impact on the jawbone that supports the teeth.
Cancer – Taking care of your oral health can understandably take a back seat when you are fighting cancer. However, it’s important to work with your dentist before, during and after your cancer treatment to maintain your dental health. During chemo your ability to fight infection decreases leaving you at increased risk of dental infections, such as cavities and gum disease.
Heart Disease – Studies have shown gum disease (periodontitis) is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the heart valves. Oral health may be particularly important if you have artificial heart valves.
What conditions can be linked to oral health?
Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
- Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia. Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health
Visiting your dentist in Fort Lauderdale for dental exam and cleaning twice per year is the best way to keep your mouth clean and healthy, and will allow your dentist to monitor your oral health over time. Providing your dentist with a complete medical history will help further diagnose any connections you may have to your health. At Excellence in Dentistry, Dr. Nancy Rotroff and Dr. Gerard Wasselle understand that the health of your mouth relates to the health of the whole person. Our dentists are here to help you achieve a smile that is not only beautiful but also healthy. Call our office at 954-928-1666 to schedule an appointment for dental exam and cleaning today!