When your dentist tells you to floss (again), you might roll your eyes a little. Sure, you might get a few cavities from skipping out on flossing, but what’s the harm?

Think again. 

We don’t often think of how our oral health affects us, aside from our smile and the way we eat. But as it turns out, our teeth and gums are intricately connected to the other systems in our body. 

We know that toothaches cause pain and sometimes embarrassment. But it doesn’t stop there—poor oral hygiene can lead to other health conditions. You might be surprised at all the ways that tooth decay can impact your overall health. Here are a few connections: 

 

Pregnancy Complications

If you’re carrying a child, the condition of your gums can even affect your little one.

Many women suffer from dental issues during their pregnancy. But what you might not know is that gum disease (periodontitis) has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth. Unfortunately, up to 75% of pregnant women show early signs of gum disease. This may be due to fluctuating hormones as the body goes through changes. 

It’s important to see your dentist regularly during your pregnancy to monitor your oral health.

 

Diabetes

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? The combination of gum disease and diabetes is a force to be reckoned with. 

If you have periodontitis, it’s more difficult for your body to control blood sugar levels. And if you have diabetes, it’s harder for your body to fight off infections, leading to a higher risk of gum disease.
 

Alzheimer’s Disease 

For years, researchers have looked for the reason behind this debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. Recent studies indicate that there may be a link between oral health and Alzheimer’s disease. The presence of gum disease makes it more likely for an individual to develop vascular dementia.

 

Heart Conditions

The combination of an unhealthy diet with compromised oral health can have devastating consequences. 

As you may know, high amounts of cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries. But studies have shown that plaque on your teeth can also clog an artery. Those with a buildup of tartar on their teeth may be at higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack. 

 

Infections

An untreated gum infection can lead to other negative outcomes. The bacteria from your mouth may spread through your bloodstream to other areas of your body. But how does this happen?

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, bacteria from your teeth can enter your blood. You could develop endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart lining, valve, or blood vessel.

 

It’s surprising to learn about the different ways our teeth and gums impact the rest of our bodies. With that in mind, you can see why people visit the dentist as regularly as their doctor. 

By preserving our oral health, we can do more than prevent tooth decay or loss—we also prevent adverse consequences for the rest of our bodies, too.

Keep your oral health in top shape by visiting our dental clinic in Winnipeg. Our dentists can help you restore damaged teeth and prevent the progression of gum disease.