Would you be surprised to learn that your mouth is the window to your overall health, especially cardiovascular disease? Sometimes, the first signs of other disease starts with your mouth, and on other occasions, mouth disease, such as periodontal disease, can cause other health problems.
Normally, your mouth is full of bacteria. Saliva is your natural defense against these bacteria, and brushing and flossing can help reduce their numbers as well. But if the bacteria are able to grow out of control, it can lead to gum disease, which opens a door into your bloodstream. These bacteria then hitch a ride with the blood cells to various parts of your body, including your heart. In fact, research has found that many different types of cardiovascular disease are linked to dental health, such as heart disease, blocked arteries, and stroke.
While this is the most dangerous link between oral health and overall health, it’s most certainly not the only one. Gum disease has also been connected to premature births in pregnant women and has been known to make diabetes more difficult to control.
In turn, as previously mentioned, mouth problems can actually be the first sign of other health problems.
For example, ulcers and bacterial infections of the mouth are one of the first signs of AIDS, cancer and other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. The first stages of bone loss due to osteoporosis also commonly appear in the jawbone.
All of these things point to one simple fact: it’s important to take care of your mouth. Brush your teeth, floss, and keep those regular teeth cleaning appointments. These are small investments in time and money when it comes to ensuring your overall health for now and in the future. Most importantly, if you notice any changes in your mouth, such as the following, tell your dentist immediately:
- Bleeding gums
- Unusual bad breath
They may seem like minor annoyances now, but they could be signs of far larger problems