Heart and Oral Health
Everyone is susceptible to periodontal diseases and tooth decay, but we can prevent so by maintaining a level of good oral health. By doing so, we can also improve our overall bodily health—as oral diseases can have an association with other health implications such as cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes.
Our mouth acts as a first line of defense, the germs that enter our mouth can also travel down the blood stream to impact other regions of our body. People with periodontal diseases contain a higher possibility to be at risk for heart diseases. This association happens as germs move through the blood stream and attach themselves onto blood vessels, causing bacterial infection within the bloodstream and resulting in cardiovascular complications. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial in preserving the health of our overall body.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes is a condition resulting from an abnormally high amount of blood glucose levels in the body. It plays a contributing role to developing periodontal disease. Diabetes reduces the body’s ability to fight bacteria that encounter the gums; resulting in higher susceptibility to infections.
Diabetes can result in the following oral health concerns:
- Dry mouth (due to a reduced amount of saliva)
- Increased chance to develop cavities (as saliva typically protects our teeth from bacteria)
- Inflamed gums and bleeding (gingivitis)
- Oral infections
Regular dental visits and practicing good oral hygiene are key to sustaining optimal oral health. Below are some steps individuals with diabetes should take to prevent oral infections:
- Regulating blood sugar levels by take your diabetic medications as instructed
- Having a healthy diet and maintaining optimal exercise can help stimulate antigens to combat bacterial infections
- Refrain from smoking
- Brushing twice a day and flossing between your teeth
- Having regular dental cleaning and checkups
Pregnancy and Oral Health
Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during pregnancy as periodontal diseases (gingivitis) is very common among pregnant women. This is due to hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy that cause gums to be more sensitive and swollen. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of cavities because of the changes in hormones and increased contact with stomach acids from morning sickness as well as diet changes. Therefore, it is recommended for pregnant women to have additional dental visits and cleanings—particularly during the second and early third trimester of pregnancy.