How Dental Health is a Window To Your Overall Health
We often think of dental health as being separate from our overall physical health. After all, teeth do require a different type of doctor, insurance, and daily care than the rest of our body.
You might be surprised to find out, however, that the two aren’t as separate as you might think. Today, we’ll go over the relationship between your dental health and your body’s overall health.
Why Is Dental Health Important?
The state of your teeth, gums, and mouth is unquestionably important. After all, we’ve all had the occasional toothache and seen just how much it impacts our daily life. The pain and discomfort associated with an injured tooth can cause headaches, distract us from our tasks, and even affect our ability to eat.
Moreover, certain dental conditions can actually cause infections and other diseases throughout the rest of your body. Continue reading to learn more.
How Dental Health Affects Overall Health
In order to get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, your teeth need to be in good shape. They need to be strong enough to chew through foods such as apples, meat, carrots, and other hard foods. Toothaches can definitely deter you from eating healthy meals, possibly leading to nutritional deficiencies. It’s also not just cavities that can cause this. Plenty of people have tooth sensitivity, which keeps them from eating acidic fruit and hot liquids.
Remember to always consult with your doctor regarding any dental concerns you may have. They can take a look at your teeth, assess the damage, and recommend a course of action for treatment if necessary. Fillings, crowns, and other common dental procedures can help fix up tooth decay and get you back to crunching on apples.
The main thing to know about your mouth is that it’s actually already full of a variety of bacteria, and this isn’t a bad thing per se. After all, most of these bacteria are harmless when kept in balance. Left unchecked, however, bacteria in your mouth can lead to oral infections or spread to other parts of the body.
Infection and Diseases
Now let’s talk about some of the conditions that can can occur as a result of the bacteria in our mouths.
Many people associate pneumonia with being wet or cold. Unfortunately, this is mostly incorrect. Pneumonia is basically an infection of the lungs. It can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungi, but not by a gust of chilly air.
A lack of dental care, on the other hand, can play a part in the development of pneumonia. Certain kinds of bacteria can travel from your mouth down to your lungs, increasing your risk of developing pneumonia. Think about the fact that while you sleep at night, bacteria in your mouth have plenty of time to grow and travel to other parts of your body. That’s why brushing at least two times a day is so critical for your health.
Generally speaking, endocarditis is when there is an infection of the heart’s inner lining. It is a very serious and life-threatening condition that requires medical treatment as soon as possible. Although endocarditis can occur in a variety of different ways, poor dental care is one of the most common causes. When bacteria are allowed to grow unchecked in your mouth, there is always an increased risk of them entering your bloodstream and traveling to your heart.
Taking better care of your teeth is a very easy way to help reduce your risk of developing this life-threatening condition. So don’t skip out on that mouthwash; it may be more important than you think.
The last thing we want to mention in relation to infection is your gums. Although gums are technically tissue, they are still a part of your overall dental health. It may seem like your gums and teeth are separate things at first glance, but they’re actually very intertwined.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of excess plaque on the surface of the teeth. This means that to reduce your risk of developing gum disease, you need to get rid of bacteria and plaque. In other words, you need to brush and floss your teeth regularly.
Pregnancy And Birth Complications
Good oral health habits are especially important for expecting moms. After all, you’re taking care of teeth for not one but two people. It’s also important to know that pregnancy in itself can actually increase your risk for dental health problems. This is due to a combination of changing hormones, different eating habits, tender gums, and frequent bouts of nausea and/or vomiting.
According to the CDC, “nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis”. Left untreated, this can eventually even lead to periodontitis (aka gum disease). This, in turn, can impact not only the mother’s overall health, but even the child’s. Some research has even found gum disease to be associated with premature births and low birth weight. That is why it is so important for pregnant women to receive regular dental checkups as part of their prenatal care.
Children’s Dental Health
As we explained above, bacteria really can wreak havoc when left unchecked in your mouth for long periods of time. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that certain groups of people are even more vulnerable to infections than most adults. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “children younger than 5 years old” are “more likely to get pneumonia.” Due to this, it’s especially important that you make sure that your child is brushing their teeth regularly. Some young children may also require assistance since they may be too young to be able to brush their teeth effectively yet.
We hope that this article has helped you understand the relationship between dental health and your overall physical health a little bit better. As we mentioned before, regular teeth brushing and flossing are vital to controlling the growth of bacteria in your mouth and limiting the risk of further infections.
Aside from cleaning, however, there are also dietary decisions you can make to improve your oral health. Tooth decay generally occurs when bacteria feed off of sugars on the surface of your teeth and produce harmful acids. This acid eats away at your teeth and creates small “holes”. These are called cavities, caries, or simply dental decay.
The best way to prevent tooth decay and gum diseases is to brush after eating or drinking and limit your intake of sugars. Instead of juice or soda, try to opt for sugar-free drinks such as water or plain tea. Limiting snacking and only eating large meals can help as well.
Pediatric Dentist Tennessee
Interested in getting more involved with your dental health? Ask your dentist what steps you can take to improve your oral health. They can give you helpful advice about how to pick out the best toothbrush and toothpaste for your dental needs.
Here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we’d love to be a source of information and help for all of your dental needs. Whether you have a cavity or just need a checkup, we’ve got you covered. We offer services such as fillings, tooth extractions, implants, teeth whitening, crowns, and much more. Our offices even offer orthodontic care, including braces and palatal expander devices (PEDs). Snodgrass-King is also proud to offer Invisalign®, a fantastic alternative to traditional metal braces. Whether you’re looking for affordable dental care for your child or cosmetic dental care for yourself, we’re the right place to come to.
Best of all, we’re convenient for the whole family. Snodgrass-King Dental offers both pediatric and adult dental care. This way, you know exactly where your and your child’s next dental visit will be. Regardless of your age, our dentists can bring you high-quality, compassionate dental care.
Snodgrass-King Dental has offices all across Tennessee, including Franklin, Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet, TN. To make an appointment, simply give your closest location a call. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our Patient Information tab. Here, you’ll find new-patient forms and some insurance information.