Links between dental health and general health

‘The mouth is the window to the rest of the body’

Much research has been done and it has shown that poor dental health is linked with problems in other parts of the body.  These problems include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimers/dementia
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Diabetes &
  • Respiratory disease

The link

The mouth contains bacteria which, if removed regularly through regular toothbrushing and flossing is harmless. However, when these bacteria are left to accumulate it can lead to tooth decay and inflammation of the gums known as gum disease. This inflammation can affect other parts of the body. The bacteria present in the mouth can also spread through the bloodstream into damaged areas of the heart or clogged arteries which can increase the likeliness of a cardiac event or a stroke.

There is a two-way link between diabetes and dental health. Diabetes reduces the bodies resistance to infection which makes infection from gum disease more likely and generally those with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to suffer with more severe forms of the disease. Research has also shown that blood sugar levels are harder to control when gum disease is present which highlights the importance of keeping diabetes well controlled for the sake of your general and oral health.

Severe forms of gum disease can also cause pregnancy complications and lead to premature birth and low birth weight babies, pregnancy hormones can also increase bleeding gums therefore maintaining good dental health before, during and after pregnancy is vital.

Poor dental health has been linked with lung problems as bacteria in the mouth can congregate towards the back of the mouth and throat which can ultimately be inhaled into the lungs and cause irritation.

Finally links have been found between poor dental health Alzheimers and dementia as the bacteria present in severe gum disease has been found in the brains of those suffering with the condition.

How to keep your mouth and whole body healthy

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, we recommend an electric toothbrush over a manual brush
  • Clean between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental brushes
  • Visit your Dentist as regularly as they recommend
  • Eat a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol in excess
  • Exercise regularly