Good Oral Health and Overall Health
Scientists are increasingly discovering the connection between oral health and overall health. Conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and issues during pregnancy have all been linked to poor oral health.
Diabetes is caused when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not properly process the insulin that is produced. The result of this is that the blood sugar in the patient is substantially raised, increasing the risk of serious health complications. One of the side effects of having diabetes is inflammation. Since periodontal disease also causes inflammation, it has been shown that diabetes raises the risk of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, it has also been shown that the presence of periodontal disease increases the level of blood sugar in patients. While clearing up your gum disease will not cure you of diabetes, it has been shown that successfully treating periodontal disease can significantly lower your blood sugar levels.
The bacteria that are associated with gum disease can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. One of the reasons seems to be that when our gums become infected with periodontal disease, the bacteria can spread throughout the rest of our body by way of the blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
During pregnancy, there is an increase in the hormones progesterone and estrogen. The increase in these hormones makes the gums of pregnant women more sensitive to the effects of oral bacteria. In fact, some pregnant women even develop a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. It has been shown that a failure to treat this form of gum disease may pose a risk to the unborn child.
The best way to maintain proper oral health, and thus promote good overall health, is to practice good oral hygiene. This means regular brushing and flossing, along with biannual visits to the dentist for an exam and cleaning.
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