Smiling dentist with patient

Medical professionals have long wondered if there was a connection between your dental health and your overall body’s health. Thanks to a recent American Dental Association study, we now have a definite answer: poor oral health can negatively affect your entire body. Furthermore, certain diseases can be first identified through oral symptoms. With this newfound focus on your oral health, it’s important to know how to maintain it. In this post, your dentist in Scarborough explains how your mouth’s health is connected to your overall body’s well-being and how to best care for both.

What’s the Connection?

Your mouth and body are linked by multiple factors, but the
root cause of almost every issue they share is bacteria. Your mouth is filled
with countless germs and when they aren’t managed
, it can negatively affect your overall health. Most commonly, bacteria
from your mouth enters your bloodstream through inflamed or infected gums and
travels across your body.

What Diseases Are Involved?

Certain conditions can be caused by poor oral health,
including the following.

Heart Disease

A specific bacterium known as streptococcus sanguis has been
identified in both gum and heart disease. Originating in your mouth, it enters
the bloodstream from your gums and travels to your arteries. There, it
restricts blood flow and raises your risk of heart attacks, strokes and other

Respiratory Issues

When bacteria accumulate in your mouth, it can be pulled
into your lungs. This can result in pneumonia and other serious respiratory conditions.

Pregnancy Complications

Periodontitis (also known as gum disease) has been
identified as a factor in both premature delivery and low birth weight. Pregnancy
can also increase your risk of developing gum disease or worsens the condition
if you already suffer from it.

Lowered Immune System

Diseases that lower your immune system (like diabetes,
arthritis and lupus) can put you at higher risk of developing oral infections. Certain
conditions including diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis
will also first present themselves as gum disease or tooth decay.

How Do I Stay Healthy?

Practicing a strong oral hygiene routine can benefit your
entire body. Include these steps into your day:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride
  • Brush your tongue and inside of your mouth
  • Floss and use fluoride mouthwash once a day
  • Maintain a healthy diet with limited sugar
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings
    and checkups
  • Avoid tobacco use

Reach out to your dentist if you believe you’ve developed an
oral health issue.

About the Author

Dr. Samantha Amaro is committed to improving her patients’
self-esteem by helping them achieve a beautiful smile. She is a member of the Ontario
Dental Association, Royal College of Dental Surgeons and Toronto Academy of
Dentistry. If you have further questions about oral health tips, she can be
reached through her website
or at 416-285-4545.