River Landing Dentistry dentist posing for a photo outside of the building in Charleston, South Carolina

The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Daniel Island Magazine

February 2, 2024 by riverteam

This February we’re celebrating National Oral Health Month. It’s the perfect time to educate yourself on ways to better take care of your oral hygiene. Your teeth are the secret to good health.Dental and overall health are interconnected, and maintaining good oral hygiene can have positive effects on various aspects of your well-being. Some links between the two include diabetes, sleepapnea, inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting teeth. Research has suggested a link between gum disease and overall health, with evidence indicating that the health of your gums is crucial for various systemic conditions.

Diabetes can have a reciprocal relationship with dental care, and there is evidence to suggest that the two conditions can influence each other. The connection is primarily related to the impact ofone condition on the other. The presence of gum disease can make it challenging to control blood sugar levels. So, properly treating the gums can help control diabetes, and patients are encouraged tomaintain regular appointments, control blood sugar levels, and practice good oral hygiene.

Studies have suggested that poor dental health can lead to cardiovascular difficulties such as heart disease and stroke. The exact nature of the link is still being studied, but it is thought that the inflammation associated with gum disease may contribute to the development or exacerbation of cardiovascular problems.

The tongue plays a crucial role in your abilities to taste and speak and provides valuable insights into your health. The condition of your tongue is closely linked to the condition of your oral health. A healthy tongue is usually pink, moist, and covered in papillae. Changes in color, texture, or the presence of coatings may indicate oral health issues such as infections and nutritional deficiencies.

Poor dental health can even affect how you sleep. Sleep apnea and gum disease are mainly connected through our body’s inflammatory response. Common causes for sleep apnea are obesity, smoking, and systemic health. Poor sleep quality can impact the immune system, and a compromised immune system may make individuals more susceptible to infections, including periodontal disease. The breathing patterns associated with sleep apnea, including mouth breathing and snoring, can affect the quality of your oral health. These patterns can lead to dry mouth which causes cavities and infection in the gums.

The intricate connection between dental health and overall health is a compelling testament to the nature of our well-being. Beyond routine oral hygiene and dental check-ups, the impact of oral health resonates throughout the whole body, influencing various systemic conditions. Remember that talking to your hygienist and dentist about any concerns will only increase your quality of life.

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