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How is the health of my mouth connected to the rest of my body?

Oral health touches every aspect of our lives but is often taken for granted. Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases, those that affect the entire body, may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.

Whether you are 80 or 8, your oral health is important. Be sure to practice good oral health by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, eating a balanced diet and seeing your dentist regularly.
Your oral hygiene reveals a lot about your overall health. People with good oral health tend to be healthier overall. Some diseases show up as early disease in the mouth. For example, conditions that can affect your immune system like diabetes or HIV/AIDS can present as fungal infections, bleeding gums, or cavities. Inflammation in your mouth can lead to inflammation in other parts of your body, especially in the heart, which may lead to heart disease. Osteoporosis, a disease that causes weak bones, can present as teeth loss.
Your oral health is linked to your overall health. Not only can oral health issues indicate more serious health problems, they can exacerbate them. Bacteria in your mouth can travel to the rest of your body and cause serious complications. People that have been infected with viruses, like HIV, often suffer from oral health problems. Further, diabetes can affect your oral health, as well by leaving you more susceptible to other infections. In turn, an infection can increase your blood sugar and make your diabetes harder to manage. Your oral health can also be affected by pregnancy or heart disease. On top of that, your teeth are often the first things affected by osteoporosis. If you develop oral health problems, it is important to consult your dentist. They could be a sign of something much more serious.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.