You know you should take care of your teeth, because you want to have a white, bright smile. But did you also know that your dental health is about more than just your smile?
Your attention to your dental health has more than just cosmetic benefits. The health of your teeth and gums also plays a significant role in your overall health. Dr. Thomas D. Sokoly of Sokoly Dental explains more about the link between your dental health and your overall health.
How your dental health impacts your overall health
You might think it’s no big deal if you skip brushing or flossing your teeth one night. And it’s true that one lapse won’t have big repercussions — the real problem comes in if you’re skipping it more often than that.
Failure to maintain proper dental hygiene can do more than just cause cavities and discolored teeth. The health of your mouth has a major impact on your overall health. Here are just a few ways that poor oral hygiene can affect your health.
This is by far the biggest problem associated with poor dental care. If you let your oral hygiene get to the point where you develop gum disease, you’re at greater risk of a heart attack. Gum disease is the most common type of inflammation in the body, and it releases bacteria into your bloodstream, which can weaken your heart and make you more vulnerable to an attack. It’s often known as a silent killer, because many people don’t realize they have the problem or that it’s progressed far enough to cause damage.
There’s an interesting two-way relationship between diabetes and gum disease as well. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop gum disease. But when you treat the gum disease, you’re also likely to need less insulin to control your blood sugar.
If you have untreated gum disease, you’re more likely to develop pneumonia from the bacteria in your mouth. That’s because when oral bacteria enter your bloodstream, they can also enter your lungs and cause pneumonia.
In addition, untreated gum disease can lead to endocarditis, which is an inflammation of your heart lining. When bacteria enter your bloodstream and get into your heart, they can cause the lining of your heart muscle and valves to become infected.
Prematurity and low birth weight
Having gum disease while you’re pregnant is also bad news for the health of your baby. When bacteria enter your bloodstream, it can result in premature delivery and lower birth weight of your baby. This can itself cause complications for your baby.
How to prevent gum disease
Gum disease is largely a preventable condition. Getting regular exams and dental cleanings can prevent gum disease — or at the very least, catch it while it’s still in the early stages, when it’s more easily treatable.
In addition to keeping up with regular exams and cleanings, it’s also important to practice good dental hygiene at home. That includes the following:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day (or more)
- Floss every day
- Use a mouth rinse once a day to remove food particles
- Eat a healthy diet, with limited carbohydrates
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Avoid smoking
If you’re due for a dental exam and cleaning, you shouldn’t wait any longer. Call Sokoly Dental at 202-280-2428 today, or schedule an appointment online.