Taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just good for your mouth. It’s a key part of your overall health and well-being.
An increasing number of studies show an association between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease, as well as other health conditions including Alzheimer’s, lung disease, diabetes, pneumonia, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer and premature labor. In fact, research shows that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
Bacteria can infect your gums if you don’t brush properly and floss your teeth, or if you miss regular dental visits. This allows plaque and tartar to build up, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Other risk factors for gum disease include smoking, diabetes, an unhealthy diet and stress.
Gum disease can bring more than pain to your mouth. If left untreated, it can lead to issues with your whole body. Your dentist can also potentially identify signs of more than 120 systemic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, just by examining your mouth.
While more research is needed, it’s clear that keeping your mouth healthy is essential to maintaining good overall health.