Did you know? The condition of your mouth reveals important clues pertaining to your overall health. In fact, certain oral indicators provide information relating to diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy concerns, and more. This is why dental professionals are devoting more time and attention to patient education. While taking care of your teeth is necessary to have a nice smile, maintaining good oral health also contributes to good overall health.
What do your teeth say about you?
Across the board, advancements in dentistry continue to provide up to date information about oral health and its link to systemic disease. For instance, consider type 2 diabetes. For many years, doctors have noted that individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of developing periodontal (gum) disease. Interestingly, those with existing periodontal (gum) disease are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. While research is ongoing, most dental and medical professionals agree that a major player is inflammation. When there is infection in the oral cavity (from gum disease), inflammation is present in the body, and this impairs the body’s ability to process sugar appropriately.
In the same way, there remains a connection between oral health and heart disease. While research doesn’t conclusively suggest that one directly causes the other, there is a relationship. For those that support this belief, the theory is that “bad” bacteria from the oral cavity enters the bloodstream, and positions itself in blood vessels, resulting in a blockage. To further support this claim, scientists dedicated to the study of atherosclerosis have found particles of periodontal bacteria in blood vessels.
Aside from type 2 diabetes and heart disease, there are also important and potentially serious links between pregnancy and oral health. For pregnant women, the presence of bacteria and inflammation from pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease triggers the release of a hormone called prostaglandin. Though not officially confirmed, the theory concerning this hormone is that it can induce early labor. Dental professionals also report that oral infections can lead to low birth weight.
Knowledge is Power
When it comes to oral and overall health, knowledge is power. That’s why Dr. Leia Porcaro focuses on comprehensive dental care at Grateful Dental. Dr. Porcaro understands that while a nice smile is appealing, developing good oral health habits play an important preventative role and even promotes better health overall.
Is it time for your dental checkup? Call Grateful Dental today.