5 life-saving reasons to take care of your teeth
Pediatric dentist explains how brushing can improve overall health
Brushing your teeth not only prevents cavities, but it also can help improve your overall health!
Good dental health is critical for everyone, regardless of age. It's important to remember that the health of you and your children’s teeth and gums can have a direct impact on their overall health. While poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss, the bad news doesn’t stop there.
Several studies show that the bacteria in your mouth from periodontal disease (gum disease) can contribute to various health concerns.
Here are 5 health concerns you may not have realized that are currently being studied:
1.Heart disease - People who develop gum disease as a result of poor dental health, have a higher risk of also developing heart disease. The bacteria that causes gum disease can cause inflammation as it travels through the blood stream which in turn can cause a stroke or heart attack. And those individuals who already have existing heart conditions are even more prone to developing endocarditis (an infection of the heart) which can be life threatening.
2.Respiratory disease - Scientists have found that bacteria in the mouth can be taken into the lungs and cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
3.Pregnancy - New research suggests a possible link between gum disease and babies born with low birth weight or premature babies. And optimal oral hygiene during pregnancy may decrease the amount of cavity-causing bacteria that can be transmitted to the new baby.
4.Alzheimer’s - There is current ongoing research that states that the bacteria originating from gum disease can travel to areas of the brain which can trigger Alzheimer’s later in life.
5.Malnutrition - Gum disease and pain can often lead to people not getting the adequate amount of calories and protein needed to maintain a healthy diet. Therefore it is not uncommon for children and elderly to suffer from malnutrition if they are experiencing dental pain.
So make sure you take care of those pearly whites for a great smile and healthy body!
Sheela Patel, D.D.S., is a pediatric dentist for Cook Children's. Dr. Patel is a a big proponent of preventative dentistry and committed to improving the health of children by educating families on the importance of oral health care. Because dental care is also an important part of health care, Cook Children's offers a dental home for patients from 6-16 years of age right here in our clinic. We accept most CHIP, Medicaid, and commercial insurance plans. We speak English and Spanish at each location. If you need another language, please call 682-885-4119.