The short answer to that question is–yes. Poor oral health can cause medical problems. The American Dental Association calls oral health “a window to your overall health.”
Bacteria enters your body through your mouth but good oral hygiene can inhibit some bacteria that might cause disease. Inflammation caused by severe gum disease, known as periodontitis, has been linked to other diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease and bacterial pneumonia. There are even indications that there are increased risks of preterm delivery or low birth-weight babies for pregnant women with periodontitis. Additionally, gum disease can make blood sugar control more difficult for patients with diabetes.
The condition of your gums is an indicator of your oral health. Persistent bad breath is one of the warning signs of gum disease. Be aware of changes such as swollen, tender or bleeding gums. Contact us at Caring Smiles immediately if you have pus between your teeth and gums. Other warning signs are gums that have pulled back from your teeth, or changes in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you bite. Finally, loose permanent teeth are also a cause for concern.
There are many things you can do to prevent oral health problems. First and foremost is consistent good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day and floss between your teeth at least once a day. Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks. Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth after eating if you are unable to brush. If you are a smoker, please quit! Besides improving your oral health, your lungs will thank you. The next important step is to make regular visits to our office for professional cleanings and checkups. Plaque bacteria trapped in the gums can only be removed by a professional hygienist. At your visit, be sure to tell Dr. Allen about any changes in your overall health or medication use.
Early diagnosis of potential problems goes a long way to better oral and physical health. Our professional team is ready to help you keep your smile–that window to your overall health–clean and bright.