July 24, 2018
When your dentist tells patients to brush twice a day, floss, and visit him every six months, he isn’t only giving you the steps to keeping the best oral health possible. He’s also helping you prevent other serious diseases from developing without your knowledge. Research has shown that 90 percent of all systemic diseases hold oral manifestations, so the mouth is very much a window to the health of the rest of your body.
Today, your dentist in Plano explains why oral health needs to be taken as seriously as your overall health.
What is the Link?
It’s important that patients know how much bacteria is in their mouth. At any given time, more than 500 species of bacteria thrive in your oral cavity. While many of these bacteria are harmless, many contribute to the formation of dental plaque. This sticky colorless film clings to teeth and gums. While plaque contributes to decay and tooth loss, a larger concern when it comes to overall health is plaque and your gums.
As plaque builds along the gum line, it can lead to gingivitis and eventually periodontitis. This advanced form of gum disease will eventually destroy the barrier separating the mouth and the bloodstream. Bacteria that was exclusive to the mouth is now able to travel to anywhere in the body, increasing your risk to developing other diseases.
Poor Oral Health Contributes to Serious Diseases
Research on oral bacteria and gum disease has led scientists to believe that poor oral health can lead to diseases like endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy complications. This is just another reason why pregnant woman are told to visit the dentist more often.
- Endocarditis – An infection of the inner lining of the heart that typically occurs when bacteria travels from other areas of the body to the heart.
- Cardiovascular Disease – Research suggests that heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries could be linked to inflammation and infections stemming from oral bacteria.
- Pregnancy Complications – Premature birth and low birth weight have both been linked to periodontitis, the advanced form of gingivitis.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Besides the routine dental care you should be practicing every day (i.e. brushing twice a day, flossing daily, visiting your dentist every six months, etc.) patients can considerably protect themselves by making sure their saliva production is high. Saliva contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, wash away harmful bacteria, and make it more difficult for bacteria to move around.
Visiting your dentist is also effective because he is always looking for oral manifestations that could lead to more serious diseases. Through bi-annual exams, he can catch early signs of uncontrolled diabetes, oral cancer, malnutrition, osteoporosis, kidney disease, and an oncoming heart attack.
Visiting your dentist is about more than protecting oral health. Skipping visits only puts your entire body at risk, so schedule an appointment today!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Weygandt earned his dental degree at the Baylor College of Dentistry. Thanks to his continuing education, he’s capable of providing patients a wide variety of treatments all in-house, including endodontics, children’s dentistry, and restorative dentistry. To learn more about his practice, contact him through his website.
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