Oral health and overall health are closely connected. The mouth is filled with numerous bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease.
Poor oral health can lead to various health problems:
1. Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) that typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
2. Cardiovascular disease: Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
3. Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontitis, a severe gum infection, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
4. Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Moreover, certain conditions also might affect your oral health, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Regular dental check-ups can help detect these issues early or even prevent them altogether. Good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily, can help keep harmful bacteria under control and promote overall health.