how dental health impacts overall health

The Surprising Connection Between Your Teeth and Overall Health

There’s an old saying: “Be true to your teeth or they’ll be false to you.” This sentiment is as relevant today as it was back then. Dental health is tightly tied to overall health, and neglecting your teeth and gums could increase the risk for serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease. How are the two connected? Here’s a little more about specific diseases and issues affected by dental health to show why the link is so strong:

  • Heart Health: While the connection between heart health and periodontal disease (gum disease) is still being researched, it’s believed that the bacteria in your mouth moves to the bloodstream, where it can lead to inflammation and raise the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes: The inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also affect how your body controls blood sugar levels, possibly causing diabetes to progress. The reverse is also true — people with diabetes can have a higher risk for gum disease.
  • Prenatal Health: Periodontal disease has the potential to lead to premature labor and lower birth weights. When the bacteria gets into the bloodstream, it can reach your baby and lead to complications. And because the hormones released during pregnancy can cause more inflammation in your gums, taking care of your teeth and seeing a dentist regularly is even more important when you’re expecting.
  • Cancer: In rare cases, periodontal disease has been associated with certain forms of cancer (like pancreatic, lung and breast cancers). While researchers haven’t confirmed a cause-and-effect relationship between the two, the link is still there.

February, which happens to be Children’s Dental Health Month, is the perfect time to catch up on the best dental-care habits. Brush twice a day, floss every day and see a dentist for routine cleanings and check-ups.

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