Oral Health and Overall Wellness: Is There a Connection?

Poor oral health can lead to bad breath and cavities, dental infections, and gum recession. But did you know that poor oral health can also be associated with problems like cardiovascular disease and pregnancy complications? Your oral health affects many parts of your body because bacteria and infection in your mouth can spread. When this happens, organs like your heart and lungs can be affected.

The more you understand the connection between your oral health and your body’s overall wellness, the more you can do to take care of yourself. Here’s what you need to know about how your oral health affects your overall wellness.

Potential Risks of Poor Oral Health

There are many potential risks of poor oral health. Below are some of the conditions that can impact you if you aren’t taking good care of your teeth and gums.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Heart conditions like coronary artery disease and clogged arteries are associated with poor oral health. If you have poor heart health and poor oral health, you can also be at higher risk for endocarditis, an inflammation of the lining of your heart valves.
  • Pregnancy and delivery challenges. Poor oral health can be associated with pregnancy complications such as low birth weight, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and fetal growth restriction. It’s believed this happens because oral bacteria can travel to the bloodstream, where it is transported to the fetus.
  • Pneumonia infection. Cavities have been associated with pneumonia. It’s believed this happens because bacteria from cavities can travel to the upper airway, causing respiratory infection.

Untreated cavities can also cause a type of bacterial infection in the skin called cellulitis.

Factors that Impact Oral Health

There are many factors that impact poor oral health. While the most common reason that people may experience poor oral health is a lack of proper hygiene, some people experience this problem because of genetics, or because they have naturally poor immune response.
Some people can trace their poor oral health to a pre-existing health condition like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer, and Rheumatoid arthritis. If you have one of these conditions, you’re at higher risk for poor oral health and should be sure to see your dentist every six months.

Good Oral Health Practices

You can help protect yourself from the impact of poor oral health by engaging in good brushing and flossing habits. Brushing twice per day and flossing once daily can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. You can use other home dental tools to keep your teeth clean as well, like mouthwash and Waterpik.
It’s also important to see the dentist twice annually. Going to the dentist twice per year can help keep the bacteria in your mouth under control, while also reducing the plaque and tartar on your tooth enamel.

Finally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods can also help ensure good oral hygiene. Want to know more about how your oral health can impact your overall health? Contact Weninger Dentistry to speak with one of our dental professionals.