Did you know that your overall health can be affected by your dental health? Problems with your teeth and gums could affect the rest of your body. Sometimes, they can be early indications of serious medical problems.
If you’ve been ignoring your dental health because you’re dreading going to a dentist’s office, now is the time to deal with that bad habit. A healthy mouth that’s free of injuries, infections, and other complications with gums and teeth is important in maintaining your overall health.
Protect yourself and learn more about how regular dental appointments can help improve your health. Wambaugh Dental can help. Contact us online or call 844.508.1034 to find out about our services and how we strive to provide all our clients with a comfortable experience.
What Is Dental Health?
Dental health or oral health is concerned with your teeth, gums, and mouth. A general dentist’s goal is to prevent problems and complications like tooth decay and gum disease and manage or treat them when they occur. Although dental professionals focus only on dental health, they should still be part of your regular health care team.
How Does Caring for Gums and Teeth Affect Physical Health?
Like some areas of your body, your mouth is filled with mostly harmless bacteria. However, your mouth connects to your respiratory and digestive tracts. Some of that bacteria can cause disease or illness if your oral hygiene leaves a lot to be desired.
With daily brushing and flossing, you can control the bacteria in your mouth. Improper oral hygiene habits can lead to the bacteria reaching levels resulting in oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease, or more severe conditions.
Studies also suggest that maintaining consistent saliva flow, which can be affected by medications and food intake, is as important as keeping bacteria at acceptable levels. Saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, and it also keeps bits of food from sticking to your teeth.
What Does Oral Health Affect?
The state of your oral health can contribute to the development and management of various conditions and diseased, like:
- Cardiovascular disease: Experts don’t fully understand this connection, but they have observed and researched that oral health and cardiovascular disease are linked. Heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries could be linked to infections and inflammation that oral bacteria can cause.
- Complications with pregnancy and birth: Periodontitis, a gum disease, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart valves or chambers. It usually occurs when germs or bacteria from another part of your body, like your mouth, attach to certain areas in your heart after being spread through your bloodstream.
- Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth could reach your lungs. When this happens, it can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Oral health affects overall health, and the opposite is also true. For example, gum disease is more frequent and severe among people with diabetes. Periodontal bone loss and tooth loss have also been connected to bone-weakening disease, osteoporosis.
What Is the Connection Between Mental Health and Dentistry?
The connection between mental health and physical health has been studied extensively, but there hasn’t been much focus on the relationship between mental health and oral health.
Mental health and oral health seem to affect each other in a way that makes it impossible to discern which problem can first. It can seem like a cycle that feeds on itself. For example, poor mental health can result in improper oral hygiene, leading to self-esteem issues and social anxiety. Dental anxiety, which manifests as a fear of visiting the dentist, is the most obvious mental health issue that can affect oral health.
Medication to manage some mental illnesses can also potentially create oral health issues. For example, doctors prescribe Lithium to treat bipolar disorder and antidepressants to treat depression. Using either can lead to a higher rate of dryness and the development of painful sores and swelling in the mouth. Antipsychotics and other mood-stabilizing drugs can also cause oral bacterial infections. Mental health and dentistry professionals should check in with each other when treating patients because of these issues.
Finally, your smile is a huge part of how you interact with the world. So it makes sense that dental problems affecting it, such as discolored or chipped teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, and more. These conditions will affect your social interactions and mental health.
Learn More About Wambaugh Dental’s Services
Let us help you manage your dental care and keep your smile healthy. Contact Wambaugh Dental online or call 844.508.1034 to learn more about how teeth affect overall health. Ask about our general dentistry services and cosmetic dentistry services.