Did you know that the health of your teeth can be an indicator of your overall health? Multiple studies have shown a correlation between oral health and both heart disease and diabetes. There are various theories as to why, but the exact reasons are still undetermined. The fact remains that your teeth bear some telltale signs that heart disease and diabetes may be on the horizon for you.
The Correlation Between Oral Health and Heart Disease
The reason it is recommended that you brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly for cleanings is to remove the plaque that builds up on your teeth. When food particles and tartar collect on your teeth, typically along the gum line and between the teeth where you toothbrush won’t reach, it turns into plaque when not removed.
The plaque that forms on your teeth is the same type of plaque that builds up in your arteries and causes heart disease. Plaque buildup in your arteries becomes a serious problem when the buildup of plaque on the walls of your arteries narrows them and restricts blood flow. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.
Studies have shown that an excess of plaque on the teeth suggests that there may also be an excess of plaque within your circulatory system, which increases your risk of severe cardiac issues.
The Correlation Between Oral Health and Diabetes
Oral health goes beyond your teeth. Your gums and the other soft tissues in your mouth can indicate other health issues. According to studies, it appears that gum disease can contribute to the development of diabetes.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. The bacteria in your mouth break down food particles turning them into sugar. The more food, especially sugary food, the bacteria can find, the more they multiply and move further into the gums. This eventually leads to infection, or gum disease.
As the bacteria increase, the amount of sugar in your blood increases, which can cause you to develop diabetes. Studies on oral health have shown that diabetes is not only caused by being overweight, but also by the increase of bacteria in the mouth.
What Can I Do To Prevent Oral Health Issues From Affecting My Overall Health?
There are simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes as a result of oral health issues, such as:
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits
It is absolutely crucial that you floss and brush your teeth at least once a day, preferably twice a day. Some people are more susceptible to a buildup of plaque on their teeth than others. If you are one of those people, consider brushing and flossing after every meal. Add mouthwash to your oral care routine if you want to eliminate even more bacteria from your mouth.
Visit Your Dentist on a Regular Schedule
It is recommended that you have your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist every 6 months, which is the typical schedule your dental insurance is likely to cover. A dentist and dental hygienist can remove the plaque from your teeth and detect gum disease for early treatment.
Reduce the Amount of Sugar in Your Diet
Changing your diet by cutting back on sugar is one of the best things you can do for your oral health. Less sugar means less food for the bacteria to feed on, resulting in less bacteria living in your mouth and a decreased risk of tooth decay and diabetes.
Dr. Jamrozek Can Help You Improve Your Oral and Overall Health
If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, visiting your dentist is a key element of that. Dr. Jamrozek provides comprehensive general dentistry services from dental cleanings and exams to periodontal services to cure and prevent gum disease.