Since we’re entering the winter season, we thought it would be useful to provide you with a resource roundup for a variety of general health conditions that can impact your dental health. Learn more about how the state of your oral health intertwines with your general health, and what you can do to remain as healthy as possible. Of course, we always recommend consulting with your team of medical professionals before making any major decision.
Cold and Flu Season & Dental Health
As we New Englanders well know, cold and flu season is upon us. It’s important to understand how you can promote your overall health as we endure the holiday season, and winter in general. In addition to maintaining your regular oral hygiene routine, here are some additional dental health tips to incorporate: drink plenty of fluids, stay hydrated, regularly change your toothbrush, be mindful of your symptoms, clean your mouth AND wash your hands!
COVID-19 & Dental Health
Although the ADA and CDC continue to track the effects that COVID-19 is having on oral health, it’s also imperative to acknowledge the strong link between oral health and our overall health. There are a variety of factors that are linked to both the coronavirus and dental health. Some of the more prominent factors include: stress, dry mouth, gum disease, oral ulcerations, and the loss of taste & smell.
Cardiovascular Health & Dental Health
According to research from Harvard, people with gum disease (periodontitis), and poor oral health in general, are more prone to be at risk for cardiovascular health problems like heart attack and stroke than those with good oral health and hygiene practices. Here are a few of the theories and ideas that support the connection between cardiovascular disease and poor oral health:
- Bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis & periodontitis may also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause inflammation and damage. This can lead to tiny blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
- Inflammation, the body’s immune response, may set off a domino effect of vascular damage throughout the body, including to the heart and brain.
- The two may be linked when a 3rd factor that affects both is introduced, like smoking.
Alzheimer’s & Dental Health
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), a strong link between gum disease and dementia has been identified; in particular, Alzheimer’s disease. The study purports that the mouth is home to 700 different species of bacteria and suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease are also associated with bacteria that cause dementia. Because gum disease is caused by infection of the oral tissues designed to keep your teeth in place, you may experience bleeding gums, loose teeth or tooth loss. Moreover, the study claimed that “bacteria and the inflammatory molecules they make can travel from infections in the mouth through the bloodstream to the brain”.
Diabetes & Dental Health
If you’re an individual living with diabetes and you do not manage your condition as effectively as you can, then it’s important to recognize that you may be at a higher risk for developing dental health problems. Some of the ways that poorly managed diabetes can negatively impact your dental health include: reduced blood supply to the gums, which can make you more prone to infection in the gums & bones that are designed to keep your teeth in place; dry mouth or exacerbated gum disease; destroyed tooth enamel leading to tooth decay; and the onset of periodontitis.
As always, if you have any questions about your dental health or oral health in general, we encourage you to reach out to our team for support and to set up an appointment to further explore your areas of concern.