Believe it or not, your mouth can help give insight to your overall health. Over 90% of systemic diseases (which affect the entire body) can have oral manifestations; that’s why when you visit your dentist in Fremont, they’re on the lookout for more that just decayed teeth. Here’s what you need to know about the surprising link between a healthy mouth and a healthy body.
Your Mouth May Warn You About Major Health Problems
Identifying potential conditions early on can make a favorable outcome more likely. Here are some worrisome health issues that can have symptoms in your mouth:
- HIV can create warts, lesions, and oddly colored spots in your mouth.
- Diabetes can result in loose teeth and bleeding gums
- Oral cancer may appear as red and white patches or sores; there are other warning signs as well, such as lumps.
- Osteoporosis, or bone loss, can manifest in the jaw and may lead to loose teeth and a receding gum line.
- Stress can cause you to grind your teeth and wear them down.
- Crohn’s disease (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) can form mouth ulcers.
Can Oral Health Affect the Rest of the Body?
It’s easy to see how your general health can impact your mouth, but what about the other way around? If your tooth or gum becomes infected, it can eventually create an abscess, or a painful pocket of pus. When this happens, it can eventually cause the infection to spread, which can be life-threatening; it’s a major reason why preventing tooth decay is important.
There are also some studies linking the symptoms associated with gum disease to heart disease. Some studies have found that those with infected gums are at two or three times greater risk of a stroke or heart attack. This may be due to bacteria entering the bloodstream and causing inflammation in important arteries. Similarly, some studies suggest that inhaling oral bacteria can lead to a respiratory infection in the lung.
Protect Your Mouth, Protect Your Body
By practicing good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing daily, avoiding sugary or acidic foods that can cause decay, etc.), you can decrease your risk of an infection in your mouth. In addition, keep your biannual visits to the dentist; they’ll give you a thorough cleaning in areas you may have trouble reaching. They can also look for signs of systemic diseases and point you in the right direction for full diagnosis and treatment. Don’t take any chances with your health – oral or otherwise!
About the Author
Dr. James Block is proud to take after his father and grandfather in providing quality dental care to patients. His practice, James Block Dentistry, treats patients of all ages and provides various forms of preventive care, such as gum disease treatment. To make an appointment, visit their website, or call (510) 793-0801.
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