You remember that song from elementary school, don’t you? The one that goes, “Your leg bone is connected to your thigh bone…your thigh bone is connected to your hip bones.” Well, this children’s tune may be truer than you’d expect. In this post, your premier dentist in Washington, DC explains how the health of your teeth and gums are connected to your overall picture of wellness. Find out how a healthy smile means a healthy body – and vice versa – from the team at Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington.
How Is My Oral Health Related To My Overall Health?
Dr. Yelena Obholz explains that taking care of your teeth can prevent diseases that impact your entire body. In fact, keeping your smile can inhibit conditions like:
- Endocarditis – In this condition, bacteria or other germs from your mouth spread through your bloodstream and infect the inner lining of the heart (endocardium).
- Cardiovascular Disease – Some research shows a link between heart disease and the inflammation and infection that oral bacteria cause.
- Premature Birth & Low Birth Weight – Gum disease has been shown to be related to both prematurity and babies born with lower birth weight.
And, just like your teeth can impact the rest of your body, the reverse is true – diseases that affect other areas of your body can often have signs and symptoms that manifest in your mouth. In fact, a routine dental exam can diagnose over 120 medical conditions, including:
- Diabetes – Since diabetes makes it harder for the body to fight infection, gum disease is more prevalent in people with this systemic condition. The Mayo Clinic states, “Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control” (2017).
- Osteoporosis – In this condition, the bones become weak and brittle, which is connected to the reduction of jawbone tissue and tooth loss that occurs with aging.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – When oral bacteria enters the bloodstream or the nerve channels in the head, it can lead to forms of dementia, and worsening oral care is a sign of Alzheimer’s Disease.
How Can I Protect My Smile & My Health?
To keep your smile healthy and make sure the rest of your body stays in perfect shape, follow these three tips from Dr. Obholz:
- 2x2x2 – Patients of all ages should brush their teeth gently for two minutes, twice a day – and floss when you brush. Just like you visit your doctor for checkups, see your dentist in Washington, DC at least twice a year for exams and cleanings.
- Eat Healthy – Sugar can do a lot of damage – to your teeth, your waistline, and your hormones. Limit sweets and carbs in both foods and beverages. Eliminate sodas, and stick to water. Enjoy high-protein snacks, leafy greens that are packed with calcium, and say cheese, since dairy products are great for your whole body.
- Don’t Smoke – If you use any type of tobacco products, stop now. You’ll drastically reduce your risk of oral cancer, in addition to ending bad breath and preventing unsightly discoloration.
Now that you know just how true that children’s song is, and that your smile is connected to every part of your overall health, schedule your appointment with Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington today!