Mouth bacteria and your health:
Some studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than people with healthy gums. Why that occurs remains a mystery as there doesn’t seem to be any relation between gum disease and other medical conditions. It still makes good sense to care for your mouth like you do the rest of your body.
Gum disease and diabetes:
Diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection. Elevated blood sugars can increase the risk of developing gum disease. Then, in turn, gum disease can make it harder to keep blood sugar levels in check. Protect your gums by keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Brush after each meal. Floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouth wash daily.
Dry mouth greatly increases the incidence of tooth decay:
People with sjogren’s syndrome are more prone to have oral health issues. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks tear ducts and saliva glands resulting in chronically dry eyes and dry mouth. Saliva is a major contributor in protecting teeth and gums from bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. A perpetually dry mouth is much more succeptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medications an issue in dry mouth:
Given that a chronically dry mouth significantly raises the incidence of cavities and gum disease, you may wish to check your medicine cabinet. Antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers and antidepressants are among the common medications that can cause dry mouth. Many other prescription medications are implicated as well. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if your medication regimen is affecting your oral health and what options are available to help.
Stress and teeth grinding:
If you are stressed, anxious or depressed you could be a candidate for oral health problems. People under stress produce high levels of the hormone cortisol which is harmful to the gums. Stress and oral care are related since more than 50% of people don’t brush or floss regularly when stressed. Other stress related habits include smoking, drinking alcohol, clenching and grinding.
Osteoporosis andtooth loss:
The brittle bone disease osteoporosis affects all bones in your body. This includes jaw bones and so can lead to tooth loss. Bacteria from gum disease is often implicated in loss of dental bone as well. Some osteoporosis medications can also increase the risk of osteonecrosis, which is a condition resulting in death or destruction of dental bone. This is a condition that can be an issue when oral surgery or implant placement is a consideration.
Eating disorders erode tooth enamel:
A dentist may be the first to notice signs of an eating disorder such as bulimia. Stomach acid from repeated vomiting or “gerd” can severely erode tooth enamel. Purging can also trigger swelling in the mouth, throat and salivary glands, as well as seriously bad breath. Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders can also cause nutritional shortfalls that adversely affect the health of your teeth.