You’ve probably heard that your oral health is directly connected to your full body health. And while some connections are better known than others (like the link between heart disease and gum disease), there are others systems in the body that are connected to the health of your mouth as well.
From mental health to the immune system, these complex systems can be adversely affected by things going on in your mouth. And sometimes, they can be discovered earlier by your dentist than by your GP.
It’s important to practice good preventive oral health for a lot of reasons, including to protect yourself against other, more complex diseases. If you are concerned that your oral health is affecting your overall health, and you’re living around the Carrollton, TX area, then give our Josey Lane Dentistry office a call today to discuss how we can address your oral health issues and make you healthier overall!
1. Mental health
Mental health and oral health have a strong connection, and studies have shown that almost two-thirds of people with depression also reported having a toothache within the same year.
What’s more, those with depression also rated their teeth lower (fair or poor) than people without depression. Most experts tie the behavioral effects of stress, depression and anxiety to the loss of focus on oral health habits, which then leads to dental issues.
Depression, for example, can cause people to brush and floss at irregular intervals, skip dentist visits, keep unhealthy diets and self-medicate with smoking. Anxiety can also result in a higher likelihood of developing canker sores, dry mouth and teeth grinding. Seeking help for mental health issues will increase the likelihood of a patient also seeking dental treatment.
2. Autoimmune conditions
Approximately 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disease. The second most common autoimmune disease—Sjogrens disease—attacks the glands, which leads to dryness of eyes, mouth and other body tissues. Some patients’ saliva takes on a thick consistency while other patients do not produce saliva at all. Both these symptoms disturb taste and speech and cause an increase in dental cavities.
Crohn’s disease is another autoimmune disease that can cause oral health issues such as welling of the gums, ulcers in the mouth and swelling of the lips.
3. Baby connection
Most parents don’t know they can pass harmful bacteria from their mouth to their baby’s mouth, which can put their child at an increased risk for cavities. Babies are not born with the bacteria in their mouth that causes tooth decay. It’s only introduced by outside sources. Streptococcus, for instances, are bacteria passed when items contaminated with saliva go into a child’s mouth. This transfer can occur through common parent behaviors like sharing utensils or cups.
If you are an adult that is prone to cavities, you are more likely to pass along the bacteria than other people. It is important to avoid engaging behaviors with young children where these bacteria can be shared to protect the integrity of your child’s mouth.
Keys to good oral health
In order to keep the health of your teeth in tip–top shape, it is important to first take preventive measures. This means visiting your dentist every six months for a cleaning and to take care of issues before they become problems.
Another option is to use dental sealants, which help prevent cavities before they develop.
And finally, make sure your dentist knows about other health issues going on. They can help manage systems that may manifest symptoms in the mouth. Your dentist is part of your care team and can provide great insight into your overall care.