As of late 2022, Cleveland Clinic has updated information on the effects of dental health on other parts of the body. While poor dental health can lead to illness involving the teeth, gums, and mouth, it can also negatively impact other organs and systems, including the cardiovascular system, and increase the likelihood of certain bacterial infections. It also increases some of the risks associated with pregnancy.

In 2020, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 26% of adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay, and 46% report some degree of gum disease. According to the CDC, certain racial and economic groups have an unusually high percentage of inadequate dental care. These groups include Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adults and low-income individuals.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that among the oral diseases affected by poor oral hygiene are gingivitis and periodontal disease, an early form of gum disease. Periodontal disease causes inflammation of the gums and loss of bone around the teeth. In addition, tooth decay can occur due to the development of cavities, which are caused by both tooth decay and tooth decay. It is estimated that 80% of Americans have at least one cavity by the age of thirty-four.

Bacteria that start in the mouth can travel to other areas. Bacteria can cause inflammation and each person’s body can react differently to both bacteria and potential inflammation. Among the problems that can occur in other parts of the body are several that specifically affect the cardiovascular system. They include coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as heart disease. CAD can cause arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms, and pericarditis, inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart.

Other heart problems include atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels. It causes problems in blood circulation to the heart and other organs. Studies have shown that high rates of atherosclerosis are common in those with periodontal disease. Strokes, especially those related to atherosclerosis, are more common when periodontal disease is present.

Another problem, endocarditis, can be a direct result of poor dental health. According to the Cleveland Clinic, bacteria built up during dental procedures such as tooth extractions can exacerbate heart valve inflammation. If a person has a healthy heart, the chance of developing endocarditis caused by dental bacteria is reduced.

Beyond the cardiovascular system, pregnancy problems arising from poor oral care include increased chances of gestational diabetes, miscarriage, and stillbirth. Premature birth can also occur, as well as low birth weight.

Poor dental health also increases the risk of pneumonia. This happens because bacteria from the mouth can travel to the lungs. Shortness of breath can also cause other problems.

Health problems that can cause problems in the mouth

Conversely, the Mayo Clinic reports that certain physical conditions and diseases can exacerbate oral health problems. These include diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. People with fibromyalgia, prostate cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis are also at high risk for oral health problems. People with this condition should make an effort to maintain good oral health practices.

Additionally, genetics can also play a role in a person’s predisposition to developing oral problems. Eating disorders, immune system imbalances and some cancers can also contribute.

risk factors

In addition to medical, physical, and genetic causes of oral health problems, certain environmental, psychological, and lifestyle conditions can exacerbate poor dental health. Tobacco use, excessive alcohol use and poor diet have all been linked to oral problems. In terms of diet, the higher the sugar intake, the greater the risk. Extreme stress can also be linked to dental health problems.

Ways to improve oral health

Improving oral health practices can improve overall health. Avoiding tobacco use and a high sugar diet is highly recommended, as is brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Changing toothbrushes every three to four months and using a soft-bristled brush also helps. Using floss and mouthwash removes bacterial growth and regular dental checkups are important.

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If you have questions about your cardiovascular health, including heart, blood pressure, stroke lifestyle and other issues, we want to answer them. Submit your questions to Dr. Haqqani via email at [email protected].

Omar P. Haqqani is chief of vascular and endovascular surgery at Midland’s Vascular Health Clinic.

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