Since your mouth acts as a virtual window for the rest of your body, a healthy smile is often a sign of a healthy individual. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true – the presence of oral infections such as periodontitis, gum disease and tooth decay may be a sign of other underlying problems. And it is often a two-way street – sometimes it is the lack of oral hygiene which leads to other conditions, while other times it is these conditions that lead to a deterioration of your oral health.

First, it is important to understand that your mouth, of course, is full of bacteria. With proper brushing and flossing, the bacteria are harmless. But once the opportunity, bacteria can build up in the mouth and cause infections such as gum disease and even lead to tooth decay. Once the infection has set in the gums, it provides the bacteria with an opportunity to enter the bloodstream, which can cause problems elsewhere in the body.

The Important Link Between Your Mouth and Body

Heart Disease and Stroke

The only thing known for sure about gum disease and heart disease is that they are related in some way. It is not yet known exactly how, but dentists and cardiologists studied the close relationship over the past five to seven years.

One theory is that when there is inflammation in the mouth, it can lead to inflammation in blood vessels. This, in turn, compromises the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body and can cause high blood pressure of the individual, which can lead to heart attack.

The other possible explanation is that the fatty plaque that builds up in the mouth can enter the bloodstream through wounds in the gums and blood vessels, travel to the heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke.

It should also be noted that gum disease and heart disease share many risk factors, including smoking, obesity and poor eating habits. In fact, not smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are some of the most effective things you can do to keep your mouth and body healthy.

Diabetes

If a lesion develops in the gums, this injury will take longer to heal in a person with diabetes. And if the lesion is left open, it is more likely to develop an infection and cause problems in the gums. If the infection persists long enough, it can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. Additionally, periodontitis seems to affect the ability of an individual to control their sugar levels in the blood, which only worsens the symptoms of diabetes.

The Important Link Between Your Mouth and Body

Premature Babies and Low Birth Weight

When a woman is pregnant, she undergoes all kinds of hormonal changes, some of which may increase the risk of developing periodontitis. This is important because any kind of infection – oral or otherwise – has been shown to interfere with fetal development and cause complications such as premature delivery and low birth weight. If the pregnant woman is wearing braces it is essential to take good care of dental hygiene and find a trustworthy orthodontist in Sydney or elsewhere for regular check-ups and control.

Cancer

If you have a lot of infection in your mouth your overall health is not in the most ideal situation, and you may be at risk of reducing your defense mechanisms, and thus the risk of having other cellular changes that could lead to possible cancer issues. Fortunately, methods of early detection of oral cancer have improved in recent years, and it is becoming increasingly possible to diagnose and treat the disease in its early stages.

The Important Link Between Your Mouth and Body

Respiratory Diseases

A greater amount of bacteria in the mouth can increase the amount of bacteria in the lungs and thus lead to a respiratory infection or worsen the effects of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

There are many health problems that can increase the risk of oral surgery. These include hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions or drugs that interfere with blood clotting or healing an injury. Your dentist will need to take extra precautions when performing invasive dental procedures to reduce the risk of complications. This means that you should definitely inform your dentist about your complete medical history, including prescription and nonprescription medicine that you take.

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