How does oral health affect the body?

Your oral health can impact your overall health. Not taking care of your mouth and teeth can lead to other problems. Some examples include:

The American Heart Association published a Statement in April 2012 supporting an association between gum disease and heart disease. Many studies show an as-yet-unexplained association between gum disease and several serious health conditions, including heart disease, even after adjusting for common risk factors.

Treating gum disease in people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar control.
A growing body of research suggests that your oral health can have a profound effect on your body's overall health. In particular, scientists have learned that gum disease is closely linked to a number of serious medical conditions, including:
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • diabetes
  • premature births
  • lung diseases
Researchers aren't sure why gum disease might increase the risk for these and other medical conditions. According to one theory, the bacteria that cause periodontitis and other gum infections may also contribute to clogged heart arteries and other health problems. Scientists also suspect that inflammation from gum disease may damage other tissue in the body. Taking good care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting your dentist regularly, can help keep your body healthy.

Problems with your oral health can cause issues throughout your body. Research has associated the bacteria from gum disease with risk of premature birth, heart disease, and stroke. It can also make diabetes more difficult to control. On the other hand, some diseases cause oral health problems, such as bone loss in the jaw due to osteoporosis, or mouth lesions caused by HIV/AIDS. Sometimes, oral health problems are the very first symptoms of cancer, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Sjogren's syndrome.

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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.