You’ve probably heard all about what might happen if you don’t take care of your mouth. Bleeding gums, lost teeth – those sound like good enough reasons to keep brushing and flossing, right? But what you may not know is that the state of your mouth can be a clue to a problem elsewhere in the body and may make existing health issues worse. Here’s why those regular visits to the dentist in Boiling Springs may be more important for your overall health than you realize.
How Can My Oral Health Be a Sign of Other Health Conditions?
A majority of systemic diseases (which affect the entire body) have oral symptoms. For example, painful lesions in the mouth could be a sign of HIV or leukemia. Osteoporosis, or bone loss, may cause your teeth to become loose. Oral cancer, which is the sixth most common cancer in the US, may also appear as red or white patches or sores in the mouth.
It should also be noted that certain conditions can make issues in your mouth more severe. Diabetes puts you at greater risk for gum disease and can lead to your gums bleeding more easily. HIV and AIDS weaken your immune responses and make it harder to fight off an infection.
Can My Oral Health Affect My Overall Health?
In addition to being a sign of potential health issues, your oral health could have a connection to larger problems. For example, gum disease is caused by an infection of bacteria in your mouth. Some researchers believe that this can lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing damage elsewhere.
For example, a lot of studies show a strong link between gum health and heart conditions. While it hasn’t been proven that one causes the other, it has been found that people with gum disease tend to be at greater risk for heart attacks and stroke; this is likely connected to the inflammation and bacteria involved in gum disease.
How Can My Dentist Help Protect My Overall Health?
During your regular appointments, your dentist can help thoroughly clean your mouth, including spots you may have missed while brushing or flossing; this helps lessen the chance of bacteria causing an infection.
In addition to these routine cleanings, your dentist can check for symptoms of potential health issues such as oral cancer and diabetes. If they think there’s something wrong, they can point you in the direction of any specialized treatment you may need.
Remember that good oral health is generally linked to better health overall. Don’t forget to continue to brush twice daily, and be aware of any changes in your mouth. If you have oral concerns, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible; remember, when it comes to protecting your oral and overall health, earlier treatment often leads to better results.
About the Practice
At Carlisle Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Drs. Thomas Neslund and Eric Weed provide friendly, helpful service for patients who want beautiful, healthy smiles. They employ modern technology such as intraoral cameras and digital X-rays for thorough examinations, and they provide great preventive care for the whole family. To set up an appointment, visit their website or call (717) 258-5455.