The Oral-Systemic Link

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A dentist holds a mock set of teeth and cleans them with an electric toothbrush

While you may see different medical professionals regarding your oral and overall health, the two are not entirely separate. The health of your mouth, teeth, and gums can affect — and be affected by — your general health and well-being. This is referred to as the oral-systemic link, and it is more intricate than most people realize. Let’s dive into how oral health is intertwined with your overall health and why this should matter to you:

The Impact of Diet on Oral Health

Your dietary choices play a significant role in maintaining oral health. It’s not just about avoiding candies and sodas; it’s about understanding how what you eat affects your teeth and gums.

Consuming sugary foods and drinks, for example, feeds the bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay. Acid produced by these bacteria can erode your tooth enamel, making them prone to cavities. But a diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and D can help maintain healthy gums and strong teeth. Foods like leafy greens, nuts, dairy, and lean meats support oral health.

Gum Disease and Systemic Health

The link between gum disease and systemic diseases is one of the most significant examples of how oral health can affect your overall health. Studies show that gum disease can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke due to inflammation caused by oral bacteria. And for those with diabetes, there’s a two-way relationship. Gum disease can make diabetes harder to control, and high blood sugar can lead to an increased risk of gum infections. Meanwhile, emerging research indicates a possible connection between severe gum disease and certain types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. Research has also found an association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as a significant connection between gum disease and osteoporosis, particularly in women.

Practicing good oral health habits isn’t just about keeping your smile bright. It’s about maintaining your overall health. By taking care of your oral health, you are indeed taking a step toward caring for your entire body. Regular dental check-ups are a crucial part of this care.

At Capital Dental Group, we understand this deep connection and are dedicated to providing comprehensive dental care that supports your overall well-being. Whether it’s routine maintenance or addressing specific oral health issues, we’re here to help you on your journey to better health seven days a week. Give us a call at 661-861-8000 to schedule an appointment today!