It is said that eyes are the window into the soul but did you know that your oral health offers important clues into your overall well-being? Your oral health is more important than you may realize and problems in your mouth can, in turn, affect your entire body. An unhealthy mouth, especially in conjunction with gum disease, can increase risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor. Likewise, keeping your mouth healthy may help to ward off future medical problems.
While dentists have long been aware that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body, there has been a recent swell of media exposure discussing the oral-systemic connection. The mouth is a good vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of systemic disease – a disease that affects or pertains to the entire body, not just one of its parts. Systemic conditions such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes, for example, often first become apparent as mouth lesions or other oral problems. In fact, according to the American Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of a systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.
If you didn’t already have enough reasons to take good care of your mouth, teeth and gums, the relationship between your oral health and your overall health provides even more. It’s important to keep in mind that a number of dietary habits and lifestyle factors contribute to your oral health, including:
- Smoking – Dental professionals have long know that using tobacco products can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer.
- Alcohol – Drinking alcohol can indirectly contribute to oral problems as alcohol dries out the mouth allowing bacteria growth.
- Medication – Some antibiotics can stain teeth, as well as contribute to dry mouth which can, in turn, cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.
To maintain your oral health – and overall good health – you should visit your dentist regularly to head off any problems early. Practicing good oral hygiene, regular brushing and flossing, is also necessary to prevent plaque from accumulating and causing problems. It is also important not to ignore any unusual growth (lump, spot, or sore) in the mouth.
Has it been awhile since your last dental visit? Smileboston Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry is a full service dental practice with two beautiful locations in Brookline, MA and on Boston’s South Shore. We offer a full array of services ranging from general dentistry to full smile makeovers. Visit Smileboston online for more information and to schedule an appointment.