Is there a connection between your oral health and your overall health?
Pregnancy and gum disease
While an absolute link between oral health and overall health has not been confirmed, we know that mothers that have periodontal disease tend to give birth earlier, to lower weight babies, than mothers with healthy gums. Because of the potential impact that periodontal disease has on the risk of preterm births, the American Academy of Periodontology urges women to care for their periodontal health while pregnant.
Many of the same bacteria found in your mouth are also found in blood vessels. These bacteria create biofilm and plaque in your, mouth and can form similar biofilm and plaque in your blood vessels.
Plaque that blocks veins and can cause serious cardiac problems may be related to plaque from your mouth. Many patients with heart issues are required to pre-medicate with antibiotics prior to dental visits to help prevent dislodged bacteria from a cleaning getting into the bloodstream. Again, there is no link saying one condition causes the other, but we do know the bacteria are related.
Well controlled diabetes is not a risk for additional oral health problems, however, uncontrolled diabetes can be a risk factor for periodontal disease progression. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause the body to respond faster and with more inflammation to Infection. When a bacteria builds up in your mouth, gingivitis sets in quickly, and then can progress to periodontal disease faster. This increase in inflammation causes the body to break down connective tissue faster than an otherwise healthy person will.
If you or someone you know has diabetes that is uncontrolled and they have had dental problems as well, the issues may be related. We encourage you to control the diabetes well and adopt good oral hygiene practices to help ensure your oral and overall health.
It is not believed that osteoporosis is a condition that directly impacts oral health. Some small amount of bone may be lost form the jawbones as a result of this condition; however, there is a more serious related issue. Many of the medications used to treat osteoporosis can cause necrosis of the jawbone (dying of the bone). This is a serious issue and can be detrimental to the function of the jaw, eating, appearance and overall health. Bisphospinates are drugs that may be linked to this issue. If you are taking some of these, be sure.
Many patients, young and old have issues with dry mouth. It can be temporary problem resulting from stress, longer lasting if caused by any number of medications, or permanent due to damage of the salivary glands. Whatever the cause, dry mouth needs to be prevented. Saliva caries minerals, enzymes and nutrients to help repair the teeth from daily wear and tear as well as prevent decay. Saliva also helps clear the mouth of food debris that can feed bacteria and worsen gingivitis, periodontal disease and tooth decay. There are saliva substitutes, saliva stimulators and other products that help in swallowing food for severe cases.
Medications and their affect on Oral Health
Many medications have an effect on oral health. Some cause dry mouth, some cause the minerals in saliva to be altered, some may even cause the jawbone to die. To be certain your medications don't have an adverse impact on your oral health, inform your dental professional about any and all medications you take.
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