We all know caring for your teeth helps prevent oral disease and maintain a healthy and attractive smile. But dental care impacts far more than just your teeth and gums.

The health of your mouth is deeply connected to the well-being of your entire body. Prioritizing your dental health can be invaluable in mitigating risk factors, preventing systemic disease, and improving your quality of life.

Keep reading to learn more about the connection between oral and systemic health.

The mouth-body connection

Your mouth can be seen as a doorway to the rest of your body. Both good and bad bacteria in your mouth directly link to important respiratory and digestive systems. Additionally, these bacteria also can enter the bloodstream and travel to other vital organs such as the heart and brain.

Proper oral hygiene can help eliminate the harmful bacteria and promote a healthy microbiome. This, in turn, prevents pathogens from entering other organs in the body and weakening your immune system.

The role of gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a bacterial infection affecting gum tissue. This infection is extremely common, with approximately 46% of adults over 30 showing signs of early gum disease.

While it’s usually caused by poor oral hygiene,many potential risk factors contribute to the condition. Gum disease is characterized by a number of symptoms, including:

Because gum disease is caused by a build-up of harmful oral bacteria (which can easily travel to other systems in the body), it’s no surprise that gum disease has a unique link to your overall health.

Conditions linked to poor oral health

Inconsistent oral hygiene correlates with a long list of health conditions that impact various body parts. Some health conditions that are explicitly correlated with poor dental health include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders

While many health conditions have a proven link to poor oral hygiene, the causality of these relationships isn’t always a one-way street.

For example, gum disease is thought to be a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis, as oral bacteria can lead to inflammation of the joints. On the other hand, individuals with severe arthritis may experience pain in the hands and jaw, making daily oral care such as brushing and flossing more difficult.

Periodontitis and diabetes also share a complex relationship. This is because oral inflammation impedes the body’s ability to produce insulin, worsening symptoms of diabetes. In turn, high blood sugar can impact the integrity of oral tissues and lead to gum disease.

How to maintain systemic health through oral care

There’s no question that oral disease can have a serious impact on your total-body health and overall quality of life. That’s one of the many reasons that thorough, ongoing dental care is so important.

Here are some of the best ways to achieve dental health and protect your body from systemic disease:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day to remove leftover food particles and manage plaque.
  • Use a gentle, antibacterial mouthwash daily.
  • Visit our dental office in Reno twice a year to get professional cleanings and exams.

A holistic approach to dental health

The connection between dental and systemic health goes in both directions. Just as dental hygiene is key to avoiding whole-body illness, staying healthy in all areas of your life will do wonders for your smile.

Protect your oral well-being by maintaining healthy habits, such as:

  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine
  • Staying active
  • Finding time to relax

Improve your health with expert dental care in South Reno

At Damonte Ranch Dental Care, we know that the mouth-body connection can’t be overlooked. You deserve to have a dental care provider that truly understands you and your specific health concerns.

Dr. Waring and his incredible team genuinely care about protecting the health of each and every patient.

Call us at (775) 329-8886 or schedule your appointment online to get comprehensive, comfortable, and personalized dental care!