What’s the link between oral health and general health?
Since our oral cavity is the entryway to the body’s digestive and respiratory tracts, maintaining oral health and protecting the gateway from dangerous infections is critical.
Saliva is the first line of defense and can naturally fight off minute levels of dangerous bacteria in the oral cavity. However, poor dental hygiene, hormonal fluctuations, a lack of saliva, and hereditary diseases might promote the growth of pathogenic microorganisms in the mouth.
These dangerous bacteria produce plaque, which accumulates on the teeth and infects the gums. If left untreated, your mouth can develop Gingivitis, a mild gum infection, or Periodontitis, a more severe gum infection (Periodontal Disease).
Gum infections allow germs to enter the circulation via the gums, resulting in plaque formation and blood clotting. Blood clots in the blood vessels can obstruct blood flow and cause a stroke or cardiac arrest.
What are the consequences of oral infection?
- Endocarditis: Endocarditis is an inflammation of your heart valves and chamber lining. It may be caused by oral infection (the endocardium). This usually happens when bacteria, fungus, or other germs from another part of your body, enter your bloodstream and attach to damaged parts of your heart.
- Cardiac Diseases: A cardiovascular disease is a group of diseases that affect the heart or blood arteries and are sometimes caused by plaque buildup hardening and stiffening artery walls, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
- Pregnancy and Delivery Complications: Gum inflammation can set off a chain reaction of tissue-destructive processes that enter the blood and cause premature birth and miscarriage.
- Pneumonia: the presence of oral infections associated with gum infection has been linked to an increased risk of acquiring or worsening pre-existing respiratory disease.
- Memory Loss: Infected gums can let bacteria into the blood and move to the brain, producing inflammatory responses and developing harmful proteins that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
- Weakened Immune System: An excess of dangerous bacteria in the gums can cause significant imbalances in the microbial community of the gums. This impairs the immune system, resulting in a shorter life expectancy.
What are the Additional Complications of Gum Infections?
If the gum infection proceeds to advanced periodontitis, the teeth will become loosened and fall out, or they may cause severe pain and require extraction. When teeth are lost, the influence of oral health on general health is exacerbated.
Tooth loss may force a person to restrict their diet to soft foods, putting them at risk of malnutrition and increasing their risk of disease. Those who switch to dentures may lose appetite owing to palate covering, exacerbating dietary issues.
Many people who lose their teeth learn to avoid smiling and interacting out of fear or humiliation. Smiling and socializing are essential for mental health, and avoiding them for extended periods can negatively influence the brain.
How to protect yourself from oral infections?
Brushing and flossing are the most effective approaches to prevent bacterial growth and plaque accumulation in the mouth. Mouthwash also aids in the removal of residual microorganisms after brushing.
Regular dental visits (twice a year) allow a professional to analyze the current state of your oral health and clean any buildup that is difficult to remove with brushing and flossing alone.
Some medications have the unintended adverse effect of suppressing saliva production. Because saliva aids in the battle against bacteria, you may benefit from consulting with your doctor about changing drugs if you suffer from a dry mouth.
How to Treat Gum Disease to gain better oral health?
Gum diseases in their initial stages can be controlled with the methods mentioned above. However, if gum disease proceeds to an advanced stage, the infection has most likely extended below the gum line. You might need surgical intervention in the advanced stages.
People with advanced periodontal disease are likely to lose their teeth. An oral surgeon may need to pull the damaged teeth and create an opening in the gums to reach and eliminate the underlying infection. Patients undergoing this treatment may require a denture to replace extracted teeth, but dental implants are the best option. This is due to the following reasons:
- A denture permanently confines its wearer to a soft diet, preventing them from consuming necessary elements from harder-to-chew foods.
- The denture’s coverage of the palate can also induce a decrease in appetite, complicating dietary issues.
- Gaps between the denture and the gums allow food to become trapped and bacteria to grow.
- Dentures do not replace the roots of removed teeth. This causes the jaw bone to degenerate since it is not supported.
On the contrary, dental implants can restore up to 85 percent of the original bite force (as opposed to dentures, which can only restore up to 25 percent), allowing the receiver to eat regular foods. They also serve as the root of a tooth, reinforcing and maintaining the jawbone’s integrity.
Looking for Oral health Improvement Treatments in Germantown, TN?
Dr. Adatrow can help!
If you have any further questions about oral health, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Adatrow. Dr. Adatrow has more than 18 years of experience in placing dental implants, with a success rate of over 97%, and can provide you with the best possible dental treatment. He is a Board-Certified Prosthodontist and Periodontist. Please contact our office to schedule your consultation now!