Relationship of Oral Health to Systemic Health
February may be “National Children’s Dental Health Month,” but adult dental health is just as important!
Oral health (meaning the health of your mouth and teeth) and systemic health (meaning the health of the rest of your body) are closely related.
Your oral health might contribute to diseases such as:
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart.
- Other cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack or stroke.
- Birth complications. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked with preterm delivery and low-birthweight infants.
- Pneumonia, because certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs.
Certain systemic conditions can also affect your oral health, such as:
- Diabetes mellitus. This reduces the body’s resistance to infection and so increases the risk of gum disease.
- HIV/AIDS increases the risk of painful lesions in the mouth.
- Osteoporosis (which is a disease that causes thinning of the bones) can result in the loss of the bone that supports teeth and can result in tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease can result in worsening oral health.
What can I do to keep my mouth healthy?
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time.
- Use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary foods and drinks.
- Replace your toothbrush at least once every 3-4 months.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- Go to your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings (at least once every 6 months!)
If you have questions about dental health, don’t hesitate to contact the Quincy Student Health and Wellness Center at (509) 787-8943!