Could My Health Problems be Linked to My Dental Problems?
Yes! Your mouth carries more germs and bacteria than any other part of your body. Infections in your mouth that go untreated are carried by your bloodstream to other parts of your body.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing next to someone who is coughing and sneezing and you are close enough that their germs are able to get to you and infect you with the virus they carry.
In much the same way, bacteria and infections in your mouth can easily spread to the rest of your body.
How are My Dental Problems Linked to Health Problems in Other Parts of My Body?
Disease and infections in your gums and teeth often go unnoticed until they have torn away at the tissues in your mouth and reached the nerves under your teeth. By the time you feel tooth pain the infection has already eaten away at the tissues enough for your gums to bleed. Once in contact with your bloodstream, the infection can travel anywhere in your body, causing new health problems or worsening your existing health problems.
What Medical Problems are Associated with Dental Problems?
Gum infections spread easily throughout your body through your bloodstream, exposing your whole body to the damaging effects of the infection. These infections that cause inflammation in your gums also cause inflammation in tissues throughout your body. Diseases that are known to be directly affected by dental infections include:
- Cancer – Very recent studies are suggesting that the inflammation caused by the infection in your gums that is carried to other parts of your body can be linked to a higher risk for getting cancer.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease, which puts those with diabetes more at risk for infections related to gum disease.
- Heart Disease – Links between dental infections and gum diseases and the risks of heart diseases was established long ago. The risks of heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease are all increased in patients who also have dental infections and gum diseases. Most significant, however, is that total mortality is more strongly linked to gum disease than even coronary artery disease.
- Inadequate Nutrition Problems – When your teeth and gums hurt it can be difficult to eat, which in turn leads to a decrease in proper nutrition.
- HIV – People who are positive for HIV are already dealing with serious health issues that accompany this disease that suppresses the body’s natural ability to fight off infections. Dental infections that spread through the bloodstream can be fatal for someone with HIV.
- Respiratory Diseases – Asthma, influenza, bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia are particularly at risk due to inflammation.
- Premature Births – Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should have dental issues taken care of right away.
What Can YOU Do?
See your dentist regularly, brush and floss twice a day, and see your dentist if you experience bleeding or painful gums.