Did you know that there’s a connection between oral health and overall health? It’s true, and your dentist in Hagerstown wants you to know that what’s going on inside of your mouth can provide a snapshot of your overall health – and may even help diagnose health problems before they show symptoms anywhere else. Let’s take a look at what clues your oral health can give about your overall health and how problems with your mouth can negatively affect your wellbeing.
Bacteria can be found throughout the body, including in the mouth. While most of these bacteria aren’t dangerous and many can actually be helpful, there are also bad bacteria. These are what concern your dentist in Hagerstown. Bad bacteria can increase the risk of tooth decay as well as gum disease, both of which can affect oral health and overall health. In fact, gum disease in particular has been linked to several whole-body problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, recent studies show that oral bacteria and inflammation due to gum disease are related to health issues including:
- Diabetes – Diabetes not only affects the body’s ability to regulate blood glucose, but it can also reduce the ability to fight off infections, such as gum disease. Study after study shows that diabetics also have a higher risk of gum disease.
- Cardiovascular Disease – Gum disease may also affect heart health, and studies show that the more severe the gum disease is, the greater the chance for heart disease or stroke.
Oral Health Clues About Overall Health
As we mentioned earlier, your mouth may also provide clues about other problems happening elsewhere in the body before you even suspect anything. Your dentist in Hagerstown will be on the lookout for signs of:
- Kidney Disease – If you have bad breath that doesn’t go away or if you constantly have a funny taste in your mouth, make sure you tell your dentist. These can be signs of kidney trouble. When kidneys aren’t able to properly break down proteins, it can cause bad breath or a bad taste.
- Oral Cancer – Oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, and it can be hard to diagnose and catch early. However, the earlier it’s caught the more successful treatment can be. Keep an eye out for unusual lumps or bumps or bleeding sores. Your dentist in Hagerstown will also check your mouth, neck, head, and cheeks for any abnormalities at your appointments.
Taking care of your oral health can help protect your smile as well as your overall health. Make sure to brush and floss every day and see your dentist at least twice a year for preventive checkups.