Recent research has confirmed what dentists have long feared, that the health of the mouth can have a knock on effect on the health of the rest of the body – infections in your mouth are highly likely to cause problems elsewhere. We often view the mouth as a separate part of the body, particularly as it is treated by dentists rather than doctors, but this research highlights how important it is to avoid poor dental health for the sake of the rest of your body. Below are a few of the issues that can result from poor dental health.
Heart disease – there is a correlation between people with gum disease and those being diagnosed with heart disease. This tends to happen when the bacteria in the mouth enters the blood stream, at which point it can reduce regular blood flow, cause clots and potentially end up causing a heart attack.
Diabetes – one of the major down sides of diabetes is that those with the condition tend to be more vulnerable to infection than those without. New research has shown that people who regularly suffer from gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes. Gum disease may also increase blood sugars in diabetics and this can cause complications. Diabetics also tend to heal more slowly, which can be particularly problematic as those with diabetes are more prone to losing teeth than non-sufferers.
Strokes – people who have suffered a stroke are more likely to have had gum disease than those who have not. This has been the conclusion of numerous pieces of research that have looked at the correlation between mouth health and strokes. When gum disease bacteria enters the bloodstream it causes an inflammation of the blood vessels – if this blocks the supply of blood to the brain then it can result in a stroke.
Lung conditions – someone with gum disease tends to have more bacteria in their mouths than someone who doesn’t have gum disease. This could result in a bacterial chest infection, as this is caused by breathing fine droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs. It could also make an existing condition worse.
Pregnancy problems – gum disease can cause all sorts of problems for pregnant women and should be avoided at all costs. It is especially problematic as gum disease tends to get worse during pregnancy, rather than better. Gum disease means pregnant women could be more than three times more likely to have a premature baby with a low birth weight and it also increases the volume of chemicals in the system that can bring on labour.
As well as the problems listed above, poor dental health can be the cause of mouth cancer, tooth loss and bad breath. If you have any concerns about your dental health then contact the Smile Pad practice local to you and we can provide advice and assistance wherever you need it.