It’s important to maintain your oral health, and not just for the sake of your teeth and gums. Poor oral health has been linked with a number of other health problems. Though it hasn’t yet been determined if all of these connections are causal or correlative, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that keeping your mouth helping could be helping you in other areas as well. Learn more about how your oral health is linked with health in other areas of your body in this week’s blog.
Your Oral Health and Overall Health
Data show that those who suffer from diabetes have higher rates of gum disease. But even more interestingly, a 2008 study showed that people with higher levels of gum disease were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with low or no levels of gum disease. What could be the reason for this? “One [theory] proposes that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, they can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn wreaks havoc on your sugar-processing abilities.”
The link between pancreatic cancer and poor oral health is not very clear, but it may have something to do with diabetes, and the fact that the pancreas is affected by diabetes.
Heart disease and poor oral health often accompany each other, though studies have had difficulty parsing out whether this is causal or correlative. But, a 2005 study did find a relationship between gum disease and heart disease that was independent of other risk factors like age, smoking, etc. It’s thought that while you’re chewing, bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and start to build up, narrowing blood vessels. Periodontic bacteria has been found in atherosclerotic blood vessels. “Meanwhile, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 establish that aggressive treatment of gum disease reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis within six months,” according to Everyday Health.
The link between pneumonia and poor oral health disease could be related to the fact that bacteria in the mouth could be inhaled into the lungs, putting them at an increased risk for infection. “A 2008 study of elderly participants found that the number who developed pneumonia was 3.9 times higher in patients with a periodontal infection than in those free from it.”
Studies have suggested that poor oral health may be a contributing factor in low birth weight as well as early labor. Fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may contribute to gum disease, which is why it’s important for pregnant women to monitor their oral health.
Time for a visit to the dentist? Call Olney Dental! You can reach us at (301) 250-1057 or, you can schedule an appointment online.You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube.