Oral Care and Your Overall Health

Practicing good preventive dental care is important throughout your life, no matter what your age.  Maintaining good oral health at home along with scheduling your regular cleanings and exams will help keep your smile healthy for many years and possibly lead to better overall health.

Better Oral Health May Mean Better Overall Health

Improper oral care may lead to plaque buildup and plaque formation may lead to gingivitis, which in some patients may progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.

Recent evidence suggests that periodontitis may be associated with heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.

Heart Disease

What is the association between oral health and your heart?

  • Some studies suggest that oral inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontitis may be associated with the development of heart disease
  • One theory is that harmful oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream and attach to fatty deposits in the blood vessels of the heart
  • Another theory is that inflammatory proteins may enter the bloodstream and may stimulate inflammation in blood vessels
  • Both theories suggest that these conditions may lead to blood clots and contribute to heart disease

When you have heart disease, maintaining good oral health is important. Remember to:

  • Make sure your dentist and hygienist know you have a heart problem
  • Have regular dental checkups
  • Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing twice a day
  • Eat healthy, exercise and if you smoke, quit

Diabetes

What is the association between diabetes and oral health?

  • Diabetes may affect your oral health, and your oral health may affect your diabetes
  • Studies show that gum disease may be more difficult to manage and /or eliminate in patients with diabetes
  • When your blood sugar levels are poorly controlled, the following oral conditions may develop: periodontitis, tooth loss, thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth, and dry mouth
  • And recent evidence suggests that periodontitis may adversely affect a person with diabetes in controlling his/her blood sugar levels

When you have diabetes, maintaining good oral health is important. Remember to:

  • Follow your physician’s instructions and control your blood sugar levels
  • Go for regular dental checkups (tell your dentist and hygienist you have diabetes and about any medications you may be taking)
  • Practice good oral hygiene with twice-a-day brushing and flossing

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