Preventive Dentistry |6 min read

How Does Poor Dental Health Affect Overall Health?

Before and after smile results with text "Improving your smile may save your life"

We all know the risk of not adequately brushing and flossing leads to cavities.

What many of you may not know is poor dental health can affect overall health, including increasing your risk for heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and more.

How do you prevent this?

The first step is to educate yourself on oral-systemic health – the link between your oral and total body health.

Our team of dental professionals has put together this blog to help you understand oral-systemic health, including its:

  1. Causes
  2. Symptoms
  3. Risks
  4. Prevention

How does poor dental health affect overall health?

1. Causes

It’s natural to have bacteria throughout your body. However, it’s not natural to have bacteria from your mouth enter your bloodstream. How does this happen?

The primary reason for this is periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque along your gum line. This creates a space between your teeth and gums for bacteria to accumulate and enter your bloodstream.

When your immune system is healthy, your body can usually defend itself against oral bacteria in your bloodstream. But if left untreated, this disease can progress into periodontitis.

Studies show that bacteria and inflammation linked to this form of gum disease play a role in other health problems. Additionally, diseases like diabetes, HIV infections, AIDS, and blood cell disorder can lower your body’s resistance to infection, making periodontitis more severe.

This link between your oral and overall health is called oral-systemic health or oral-systemic link.

What health problems are you at risk for with periodontitis?

2. Risks

Poor dental health can affect overall health, including increasing your risk…This text is linked to the website for Colgate. It opens in a new window… for:

  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetic complications
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Dementia
  • Respiratory infections
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Premature or low birth-weight babies

Likewise, poor overall health can affect oral health. If you suffer from any of the following, be sure to take extra care of your smile:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

If you take certain medications that dry your mouth out, you are also at an increased risk for dental problems.

How do you know if you have gum disease and are at risk for health problems?

3. Symptoms

Here are the most common signs of gum disease:

  • Red and puffy gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Loose teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

If you notice any of these signs, call your dentist to schedule an appointment. The sooner you treat gum disease, the better results you will have.

Did you also know your mouth can show the first signs of overall health problems? This is another reason why dental visits are crucial to your well-being.

Below is a before and after smile makeover of Bea, an actual patient of Dr. Steve Gorman. She wanted to have straighter teeth and was concerned when she noticed her gums bleedings – especially given her family history with heart disease. Her brother, a dental laboratory technician, recommended her to Dr. Gorman for his expertise in improving oral health with aesthetically appealing treatments.

Now, she loves her new smile and is happy to hear good news when she comes in for her routine dental visits.

Before and after smile results of Bea's smile with text "Dentistry transformed Bea's smile and overall health. Are you next?"

4. Prevention

Unlike other health problems that may be out of your control, you are primarily in control of your oral health and how it impacts the rest of your body.

Based on current research, you should put effort toward preventing gum disease – the main connection between poor dental health and overall health problems.

Here’s how you can protect yourself against gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with ADA-approved toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Rinse once a day with mouthwash. If you suffer from dry mouth, use an alcohol-free one.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Complete recommended dental treatments, such as fillings.

If you do have gum disease, there are a variety of treatment options depending on the severity of your case. Sometimes a professional cleaning and improved at-home hygiene routine will do the trick. Other times, you may need periodontal care for more severe cases.

At The Gorman Center for Fine Dentistry, we offer Perio Protect. This is an at-home treatment, consisting of custom-made trays to deliver medicine below the gum line and fight periodontal disease.

“I have gum disease. Do I really need to treat it?”

A frequently asked question about gum disease we hear is if you really need to treat it?

Watch our short video to hear the answer:

Do you have poor dental health?

If you are overdue for a dental visit or show signs of gum disease, then schedule a consultation with one of the top dentists in MN.

Our preventive dentist, Dr. Gorman, is a founding member of the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health…This text is linked to the website for American Academy of Oral Systemic Health. It opens in a new window. He is well-versed on the link between your mouth and body. He can help you achieve optimal oral health to live a long and happy life.

Get In Touch

Our dental office is conveniently located in North Oaks, MN, and proudly serves our surrounding communities, including St. Paul, Minneapolis, Vadnais Heights, New Brighton, Shoreview, Little Canada, White Bear Lake, Lino Lakes, Dellwood, Roseville, Twin Cities, Edina, Minnetonka, Eagan, Woodbury, Hudson, Arden Hills, and Wisconsin.

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