It’s a spooky season, and not just because of the ghosts and ghouls known for roaming the streets in late October. It’s also a time when kids (and sometimes teens and adults) head out to collect loads of sugary treats, and the rest of us who aren’t trick-or-treating still find plenty of opportunities to snack on the candy around the house. Fall is also the lead-in to a holiday season that is often filled with a lot of unhealthy treats.
Unfortunately eating all that sugar can lead to cavities and other oral health issues, but that’s not all. Oral health is also closely tied to your overall health. It’s an important connection to understand to prevent oral diseases that can have a big impact on your body beyond cavities.
Oral Disease and Chronic Disease
There is growing evidence that having an unhealthy mouth has consequences that are more far-reaching than the diseases that manifest in your mouth. In fact, gum disease (periodontal disease) is linked to several chronic health conditions, including:
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Additionally, gum disease has been linked to a higher risk of premature birth for pregnant women, as well as low birth weight.
The reason that gum disease puts a person at higher risk of developing chronic health conditions, or can make conditions worse, is generally related to inflammation and blood sugar levels. Gum disease is an infection in the mouth caused by bacteria that builds up and creates a sticky substance called plaque. In an effort to fight the bacteria, your body will experience inflammation, which can slowly damage blood vessels in your heart and brain. Gum disease also raises blood sugar levels in your mouth fluids, which can make it harder to control or prevent diabetes.
How to Reduce Your Risks
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of periodontal disease or treat gum disease if you are already suffering with it. These include:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
- Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing
- Floss at least once a day
- Limit sugary foods and drinks in your diet
For those with periodontal disease, or those at higher risk of developing it, it’s also critical that you include a visit to your dentist as part of your regular oral hygiene routine in addition to these at-home oral hygiene habits. Unfortunately not enough people are doing that. The 2018
Delta Dental Plans Association survey revealed that only 58% of respondents see a dentist once a year or more, even though 85% believe that oral health is “very” or “extremely” important to their oval health.
Schedule an Appointment Today at Young Family Dental
To prevent and treat gum disease, schedule an appointment today with a dentist at Young Family Dental. We’re here to help you get a healthy mouth and limit the risks of developing or exacerbating other chronic health conditions.