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Dental Infections and Your Overall Health

July 24, 2013 No Comments

Did you know that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? If you are not practicing good oral hygiene, you may be putting your overall health in jeopardy. Although seeing a dentist is no substitute for a visit to a medical doctor, regular dental cleanings and checkups can reveal much about your overall health. If a dentist finds a potential health issue, he or she can refer you to a physician for follow-up.

Even the healthiest mouths are full of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless. When the bacteria get out of control it can cause infections, such as gum disease and tooth decay. The immune system cannot always fight off these dental infections. The inflammation caused by these conditions has been shown to play a role in other diseases within the body. The bacteria enter the body through the blood stream or digestive system.

Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

1. Endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart caused by bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and attaching to the heart.
2. Cardiovascular Disease: Research suggests that stroke, heart disease, and clogged arteries are linked to oral infection and inflammation.
3. Childbirth Complications: Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth.
4. Diabetes: Gum disease is more frequent and severe among people with diabetes. People with gum disease have more difficulty controlling blood sugar levels.
5. Osteoporosis: Weak and brittle bones may be linked to bone loss caused by gum disease.

The good news is that gum disease can be easily prevented and treated. With proper treatment, the damage can be halted and even reversed. While regular dental exams and cleanings are necessary to remove bacteria, plaque and tartar and to detect early signs of gum disease, you can play a major role in preventing gum disease.

Top 6 ways to Protect Yourself from gum disease:

1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
2. Floss at least once a day
3. Eat a healthy diet
4. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months
5. Have regular dental checkups and cleanings.
6. Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

To protect your dental health, practice good oral hygiene every day. Contact your local dentist in Clintonville as soon as an oral health problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.