The health of your mouth and body are intertwined and can impact each other more than many people realize. That’s not to say that a small oral health problem that you get treated, like a cavity, can manifest illness in another area of your body, but that when left untreated, oral issues can impact your body’s ability to fight off illness. To learn more about how semi-annual visits to your dentist to keep on top of your oral health can help you fight off serious medical issues, keep reading.
Why are Routine Dental Checkups & Cleanings Important?
The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist every six months to make sure that your teeth and gums stay healthy and to prevent oral problems from getting worse. Not only can routine preventive care keep you from needing invasive dental treatments like root canals and tooth extractions, but it can also preserve your oral health, and in turn, your physical wellbeing.
At each of your checkups and cleanings, your dental professional will conduct an oral cancer screening, check for any signs of oral health issues, and take digital X-rays to make sure that hidden problems get diagnosed and treated. Then, they’ll thoroughly clean all plaque, tartar, and debris from your mouth to prevent problems from arising down the road, until the next time you visit your dentist.
5 Medical Conditions Related to Poor Oral Health
Over the last few decades, researchers have linked several medical conditions to worsening gum disease and oral infections, showing that it’s more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene practices. Here are four conditions that have been linked to poor oral health:
- Cardiovascular Disease: The same toxins produced by harmful oral bacteria that are known to cause gum inflammation are able to travel through the bloodstream and affect your heart. Studies have found that patients with untreated gum disease are more likely to suffer from heart attacks.
- Alzheimer’s: Several research groups found that the same plaques found in the brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be produced by your body in response to an infection, including those in the mouth. The NIA Intramural Research Program analyzed the medical records of over 6,000 patients and found that older adults with mouth infections like gum disease were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s during their 26-year study period.
- Respiratory Infections: Just like cardiovascular disease, the same bacteria that causes the early signs of gum disease, such as swollen and bleeding gums, can travel through the bloodstream to your respiratory system. As a result, untreated gum disease can cause medical conditions like pneumonia and acute bronchitis.
- Cancer: Bad oral habits like smoking tobacco products are known to cause oral health problems like gum disease and infection. They’re also known to cause oral cancer as well.
Taking care of your health means spending just as much time maintaining your teeth and gums as going to the gym and eating healthy. Without an infection-free smile, your risk of developing life-altering illnesses is significantly higher. The best way to stay on top of this problem is to visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings every six months and have a good at-home oral hygiene routine.
About the Author
Dr. Alan Rauchberg is a passionate and dedicated dentist committed to keeping his patients healthy, safe, and comfortable. He has attended the world-renowned Pankey Institute and Dawson Center for postgraduate training to sharpen his skills and allow him to better understand the mouth-body connection. He is also an active member of several professional organizations and has received the honor of being recognized as a Top Dentist in the New Jersey Monthly. For questions or to schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, visit Rauchberg Dental Group’s website or call 973-718-9887.