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Oral health a window to your overall health

Published on October 21, 2016 at 14:43 / Updated on April 25, 2021 at 16:13

Did you know that the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health?

If you have a gum infection (gingivitis, periodontitis) or even cavities, the bacteria that cause these infections can leave your mouth through the blood and cause infections elsewhere in the body, such as in the heart. For example, certain cases of endocarditis are caused by bacteria originating in gingivitis.

In pregnant women, research has established a link between cases of premature infant death and the presence of periodontitis in the mother. There also appears to be a link between low birthweight and periodontitis in the mother.

Some diseases may also cause certain oral conditions to develop or worsen. For example, diabetes weakens the body’s immune defenses and is therefore associated with an increased incidence of gum disease. Certain oral problems, such as lesions, are also more common in HIV carriers. Osteoporosis, which makes bones weaker and more brittle, can lead to bone loss in the jaw or to tooth loss.

Your saliva also plays an important oral health role because it helps rinse out food residue and neutralize the acids produced by bacteria. When you have less saliva, bacteria can multiply in the mouth and lead to infection.

Maintaining good oral health is therefore important not only for a beautiful smile and fresh breath, but also for the sake of your overall health. So take good care of those pearly whites!

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