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Dental Health and Wellness: 7 Links Between Oral and Overall Health

We all know that committing to a good dental hygiene routine is crucial to the health of our smiles. Brushing, flossing and getting our regular cleanings helps us banish bacteria that leads to staining, cavities and — eventually — periodontal (gum) disease. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Periodontal disease and inflammation in the mouth can cause problems throughout the entire body. Here are some specific ways these issues affect your overall health and well-being.

1. Heart Disease — Evidence of the dental-cardiovascular link gets stronger each day. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), scientists trace this link back to gingivitis — or oral inflammation from bacteria — which can play a role in clogged arteries. The AAP warns that periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions. Want to kill bacteria in the mouth during your regular brush and floss sessions? Grab a blue light toothbrush from GO SMILE that uses powerful blue light technology to kill more bacteria in the mouth. 

2. Endocarditis — Cardiovascular disease isn’t the only heart-related issue caused by pesky bacteria in the mouth. Endocarditis is an infection of the lining within the heart’s chambers and valves which develops when the bacteria within the mouth spread through the bloodstream. This condition can cause flu-like symptoms, heart murmurs, fatigue, aches and pains and chest pain, among other complications. Endocarditis can be life-threatening if not properly treated with antibiotics or surgery to repair valves or remove infected heart tissue.

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3. Alzheimer’s Disease — According to a study in Science Advances, the bacterial strain known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is primarily responsible for chronic periodontitis, was found in the brains of 96 percent of Alzheimer’s disease patients. Though the link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s requires further study, it indicates that older adults and those at risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia should take exceptional care of their teeth.

4. Diabetes  — There are a number of connections between poor dental health and diabetes. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) reports that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is related to diabetes. Gum disease and diabetes have an impact on one another as well — those with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease, and yet periodontal disease makes it more difficult for those with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

5. Rheumatoid Arthritis — Rheumatoid arthritis, much like gum disease, is a major trigger for inflammation throughout the body. Though scientists still aren’t totally clear on why this is, gum disease and tooth loss are more prevalent in those who have rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, those with rheumatoid arthritis may find it more challenging to brush or floss due to pain in the joints. An electric or hands-free toothbrush may help.

6. Mouth Cancer — Like diabetes, mouth cancer and oral health have mutual effects on one another. Unhealthy habits like using chewing tobacco or smoking can lead to mouth cancer. At the same time, mouth cancer can have a dramatic effect on the health of the mouth, causing patients to experience painful sores, infections, chronic sensitivity, dry mouth and jaw pain. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding tobacco products and limiting drinking can help reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer.

7. Self-Confidence — In our culture, a clean mouth is a symbol of beauty and good health. Unfortunately, those of us with dental health issues tend to have cavities, bad breath, missing teeth and yellowing or staining, which can compromise a beautiful smile and, in turn, our self-confidence. As we know, low self-confidence and poor mental health can have dramatic effects on our physical health and vice versa. Make your teeth dazzle with a blue light teeth whitening kit that employs healthy, safe technology to kill bacteria and whiten teeth at the same time.

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Good Oral Health for Full-Body Wellness

As we learn more and more about human health, one thing becomes clear: There is an obvious link between the health of the mouth and the rest of the body. This means that we must prioritize oral health — flossing, brushing and getting routine cleanings — right alongside things like eating a good diet and exercising regularly.  Additionally, it means we must pay attention to our mouths and understand that they can hint at broader health conditions.

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