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.
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!