Atkins & Anderson DDS Blog

Your entire body works as a unit. This might sound like an obvious statement; however, we tend to separate our oral health from our overall health. In reality, the two have proved to be closely linked. The health of your heart, mind, respiratory tract and digestive system impacts your oral health–and vice versa. Learn how everything is connected and how you can protect your overall health by prioritizing your oral health.

What’s the Connection?

Your mouth is full of bacteria. While this bacteria is mostly harmless, if harmful bacteria enters your mouth, it quickly spreads to other parts of your body. Your mouth is the front door to your respiratory tract and digestive tract. Bacteria not kept at bay in your mouth can spread to other areas and may cause disease or oral infections. In most cases, oral hygiene routines can keep harmful bacteria at bay. Medications that reduce the production of saliva—antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, and painkillers—reduce your number one defense against bacteria growth. Saliva neutralizes acid, washes away food debris, and protects against the growth of bacteria.

How Oral Health Impacts Various Health Conditions

Below is a list of diseases or health conditions that your oral health directly impacts:

  • Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves that occurs when bacteria from your mouth spread through your bloodstream and enter your heart.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Research suggests that heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries are linked to the bacteria that cause inflammation and infection in your mouth.
  • Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Periodontitis is linked to low birth weight and premature births.
  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases can be caused by oral bacteria pulled into your lungs.

How Health Conditions Impact Oral Health

Below is a list of health conditions that can negatively impact your oral health:

  • Diabetes: Gum disease is often more frequent and severe in men and women with diabetes. People with gum disease tend to have difficulty managing their blood sugar. However, periodontal control enhances diabetes control.
  • HIV/AIDS: Oral problems are commonly found in men and women with HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis: Periodontal bone loss and tooth loss are commonly found in people with osteoporosis.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, oral health seems to decline.

How Can I Protect My Oral Health?

Prioritizing your oral health is critical in protecting yourself from various health problems or preventing worsening dental issues. Here’s how:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride for optimum protection.
  • Floss daily.
  • Rinse with mouthwash as another layer of protection after your brush and floss.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit your consumption of sugary food and beverages.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Avoid tobacco products.
  • Schedule a routine cleaning with your dentist.

At Atkins and Anderson, DDS, we want to come alongside you to protect your teeth and gums as well as your overall health. Routine cleanings and check-ups are the best way to evaluate potential problems and protect your mouth from preventable issues. Click here to schedule an appointment today.


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Atkins & Anderson DDS - Bryan/College Station, Texas


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