The Mouth-Body Health Connection
There are some very strong links between your oral health and your overall general health. Because there are many medical conditions that can have a negative impact on the health of your teeth and gums, it is important to understand the connection. Below are examples of how overall health can affect your mouth.
Acid reflux caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to the erosion of the molars at the back of the mouth. If you have reflux problems during the day, you can help protect your teeth by regularly rinsing your mouth with plenty of water. However, avoid brushing your teeth immediately after an episode of reflux. Contact with acid softens tooth enamel, and brushing can damage the softened enamel. Instead, rinse with water and wait until later to brush.
At night, be sure to avoid foods and beverages that trigger reflux, such as coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods. Avoid eating in the three hours before bed, to reduce the risk of reflux episodes while you're sleeping.
Most stomach ulcers are caused by infection with a bacteria called helicobacter pylori. The infection weakens the lining of the stomach, causing pain and inflammation. While it doesn't impact your oral health, the medication you take for the condition can turn your tongue black. This is a temporary condition that goes away once you stop taking the medication.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure doesn't necessarily affect your oral health, but some medications that treat the disease can. Calcium channel blockers can cause the gums to swell and overgrow, potentially leading to gum pain. These medications can also cause dry-mouth, which reduces saliva production and therefore increases the risk of gum disease.
Diabetes affects a lot more than your blood sugar. It can cause widespread inflammation that affects your gums as well as other tissues of the body. If you're diabetic you have an increased risk of gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss, so it's vital that you tell your dentist, get regular checkups, and pay strict attention to your at-home oral care.
If your breath suddenly becomes less than pleasant, even when you brush and floss regularly, then a visit to your doctor might be in order. Bad breath is a symptom of kidney disease, as when the kidneys become less effective at filtering waste, the breath can take on an unpleasant smell, such as ammonia or fish.
Healthy Body, Healthy Mouth
Many minor and serious medical conditions can impact your oral health, so it's always a good idea to tell your dentist if you're diagnosed with a medical condition, are taking certain medications of have a family history of systemic diseases. With this information, your dentist will be much better able to help you protect your oral health.
If you have not been seen by a dentist for more than six months, contact Dr. J.C. Romero to schedule an appointment.
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