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World Health Day: Understanding How Dental Health Affects Overall Health

This year, World Health Day will be held on April 7. To celebrate, we’re going to share some interesting facts about how your dental health can affect your overall health!

While many people may think that their oral health does not affect the rest of their body, this is not true. Many clinical studies have been performed that show that a healthy mouth can help keep the rest of your body healthy, and that issues like tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious, chronic health problems. Let’s take a look at just 3 examples of how dental health affects your overall health now!

1. Dental Health Affects Your Heart

The connection between your oral health and your heart has been well-researched, particularly when it comes to gum disease. If you have gum disease, that means your mouth is full of bacteria.

These bacteria can be transferred into the rest of the body through the capillaries in your gums and mouth. In turn, the presence of bacteria in your blood can cause your arteries and veins to become inflamed, due to the natural response of your immune system.

This means that, if you are affected by issues like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), inflammation can further restrict the flow of blood in your heart, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 20%.

In rare cases, oral bacteria can even infect the lining of your heart, causing a rare and serious condition called endocarditis.

2. Dental Health Affects Your Lungs

It may seem surprising that your dental health could affect the health of your lungs and respiratory system. But when you think about it, it makes sense. Every time you breathe, air passes through your nose and mouth.

That means that if you have poor oral hygiene, or you suffer from gum disease, you’re constantly breathing in bacteria which could increase your risk of a respiratory infection such as pneumonia.

3. Dental Health Could Affect Your Brain

While the link between dental health and brain health has not been directly proven, there are some studies that indicate that gum disease could lead to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. A study conducted in the UK showed that chronic gum disease was found in the brains of 4 out of 10 people who had Alzheimer’s. The study theorized that the buildup of oral bacteria caused by gum disease may affect our body’s immune response, and contribute to symptoms of dementia like confusion and neuron loss. While more studies will have to be conducted to confirm this link, it’s certainly possible that your oral health could be very important to the health of your brain.

Care For Your Mouth – And Care For Your Body!

There is no part of your body that’s “separated” from the rest, and that includes your mouth. Poor dental hygiene and oral health can lead to a number of other, systemic health problems.

So make sure you take care of your mouth. If you’re overdue for a checkup, celebrate World Health Day by scheduling an oral exam and teeth cleaning with Dr. Matthew Annese at Nashoba Valley Dental today.

We serve patients throughout the entire area, including Pepperhill, Leominster, Harvard, Groton and Lunenberg. So give us a call at (978) 425-9088 now, or stop by our office at 228 Great Road, Shirley, MA 01464 if you’re in the neighborhood.

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