It might not be apparent initially, but good mouth health has a direct relationship on the rest of the body. Tooth loss may appear to be more of a cosmetic concern, but it can have an indirect impact on the number of bacteria that enter your body. That bacteria can lead to more serious problems in the future, including disease.
It is best to stave off these problems at the outset by replacing any missing teeth that you may have. The longer you wait to replace those teeth, the more likely you are to encounter problems later in life. Talking with an experienced oral surgeon about a dental implant is an ideal first step for avoiding a problem before it arises.
How Is Mouth Health Connected to My Overall Health?
Ever since we first got teeth, we have been taught about the importance of brushing every day and flossing to prevent bacteria from forming in our mouth. When we fail to brush, there is nothing stopping our teeth from becoming havens for bacteria.
The mouth is a major entrance into our body and one that bacteria can use easily to gain access to it. We rely on our natural immune system to fight off bacteria, but if those dangerous organisms grow too much in number, they will be able to outmatch our immune systems.
When there are too many bacteria, it can lead to oral problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. When we lose a tooth, the space left behind can be an easy place for bacteria to form and not be addressed.
Along with failing to take care of our mouths, certain medications can have an impact as well. Medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants reduce the amount of saliva that our body produces. We use saliva to help wash away germs and other items from our mouth.
If we fail to stop these problems from forming in our mouth, there is nothing that will prevent them from going further and spreading throughout our body.
Another indirect impact of tooth loss on our overall health has to do with the food we consume after we have lost our teeth. It can be difficult for many patients to eat healthy foods with dentures. Since fruits and vegetables are harder to chew with dentures, many just avoid them altogether. Reducing the amount of healthy food you consume can be overall troublesome for your body.
However, if you do wear dentures but they make it difficult to consume fruits and vegetables, an oral surgeon can speak with you about better options for your mouth.
What Conditions Can Poor Mouth Health Cause?
By providing germs and other bacteria with unfiltered access to the rest of your body through your mouth, you run the risk of developing more serious health conditions unrelated to your mouth. Those conditions include:
- Respiratory infections: If you suffer from routine dental caries and periodontal disease, you are consistently breathing in germs and bacteria that can get into your lungs. Over time, those germs can develop into respiratory conditions such as respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, and pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Diabetes: In certain cases, diabetes and gum disease go hand in hand. Diabetes can lead to gum disease because the immune system is compromised, which makes people with diabetes more susceptible to bacterial infections. On the other hand, gum disease can lead to diabetes because it can make efficient blood sugar control more challenging.
- Dementia: Multiple studies have been conducted that have found a correlation between teeth loss in seniors and poor performance in memory and walking speed.
- Endocarditis: This is another example of bacteria that enter through your mouth and find its way to other vulnerable parts of your body. In endocarditis, bacteria could find their way to the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves.
- Pregnancy and birth complications: There have also been links found between periodontitis and premature birth and low birth weight.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Replace Your Lost Teeth to Limit Bacteria Entering Your Body
Although good oral hygiene can lead to a beautiful smile and self-confidence, it can also limit the number of germs and bacteria entering your body. When you mouth health starts to fail, you will need help to improve it. The South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons will help you with whatever you need to bring back that healthy smile, from teeth replacement to treating gum disease. Call us today at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to make an appointment or schedule a consultation. With offices in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we are dedicated to helping patients throughout South Jersey.