Connecting dental health and overall health
Did you know October is National Dental Hygiene Month? We want to talk about how dental health (and hygiene) relates and impacts your overall health.
Periodontitis, a condition characterized by gum disease, allows bacteria and their harmful byproducts to transition from the gum and tooth surfaces into the bloodstream, where they have the potential to disseminate to various organs. Gingivitis is early-stage gum disease; periodontitis is the progression of this disease which involves the destruction of the bone support that holds your teeth in place.
Should untreated mouth inflammation persist, certain proteins associated with this inflammation may extend their influence throughout the entire body.
The connection between dental health and mental health
Periodontitis has been linked to a heightened susceptibility to cognitive decline and the onset of dementia. This connection may be attributed to the potential compromise of the blood-brain barrier, facilitating the infiltration of bacteria and inflammatory substances into the brain through the bloodstream, ultimately contributing to cerebral inflammation. Consequently, periodontitis could potentially give rise to cerebral inflammation, a pivotal factor in the progression of dementia.
Gum disease puts you more at risk for diabetes
Periodontal disease seems to increase the risk of diabetes and vice versa. The American Dental Association (ADA) highlights a reciprocal connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. In essence, elevated blood sugar levels heighten the susceptibility to gum disease, while gum disease complicates the management of blood sugar, potentially elevating an individual’s A1C level. Consequently, research has unveiled a correlation between periodontal disease and an elevated risk of diabetic complications.
Gum disease and heart disease
People with periodontal disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. Periodontal disease increases the amount of inflammation in the body and this is a key contributor to many problems including plaque buildup in the arteries.
Gum disease and pregnancy
Gum disease is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight babies.
Pregnancy and cavities
Pregnant individuals may face an increased risk of developing cavities, often influenced by shifts in behaviors, including dietary changes. Women who harbor a substantial amount of cavity-causing bacteria during pregnancy and in the postpartum period may inadvertently transfer these bacteria from their own mouths to their infants’ mouths. The early introduction of these bacteria, coupled with exposure to additional sugars through frequent snacking or bedtime bottle use, can contribute to the onset of early childhood cavities, necessitating extensive dental treatment at a young age.
If you have any oral health questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our team at 703-831-3952 today!