How Does Dental Health Relate to Whole-Body Health?

A young, healthy woman jogging in a park

The human body is a series of connected systems, so when a problem occurs with one system, it can and does impact the way the rest of the body functions. Take oral health, for example. While oral health issues can induce pain in the mouth and affect the way teeth look and feel, these issues can weigh heavily on a person’s overall health as well.

Oral Health & Overall Health

Studies show that oral health issues can decrease an individual’s immune function which makes it harder to fight off infections or heal from illnesses. This effect can put individuals with diabetes, HIV, or other serious health conditions at greater risk than those with optimal oral health.

Additionally, poor oral health can negatively impact heart and brain health. Heart disease, endocarditis, and strokes are more common (and more severe) in patients with significant tooth decay or gum disease.

Poor oral health also leads to frequent respiratory infections, chronic pneumonia, and may also exacerbate asthma.

For individuals who are pregnant, poor oral health can increase the odds of preterm birth occurring and can contribute to low birth weight in babies.

Finally, poor oral health can affect the mind, as scientific studies have determined links between tooth decay, gum disease, and dementia. While it may not necessarily cause this disease, it can contribute to more severe symptoms and make managing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease more difficult.

Preventative Measures

To prevent the development of oral health issues, and to prevent whole-body health conditions from arising, routine dental care is crucial.

Be sure to attend regular dental visits at least twice a year to have your teeth and gums examined and cleaned.

Additionally, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss, and use mouthwash. To give your teeth a healthy boost, be sure to drink enough water throughout the day as adequate hydration helps protect teeth and gums from harmful bacteria.

If you’ve not seen a dentist in six months or more, please reach out to Golden Heart Dental at 907-328-0868 or schedule an appointment. Our team will examine your mouth, perform a routine cleaning, and provide you with oral care tips you can use between visits.