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Your Dentist Explains How Oral Health Affects Overall Health

August 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — dr_sikes @ 7:09 pm

doctor with stethoscope It’s common knowledge that if you don’t take care of your teeth, you’re going to get cavities. But did you know that what goes on in your mouth can affect your overall health as well? In fact, poor oral hygiene habits can play a role in several serious diseases. If you need a little more motivation to brush and floss regularly — and visit your dentist in Cookville twice a year — consider the connection between your oral health and the other systems in your body.

Cardiovascular Disease

If your oral health deteriorates to the point where you have advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis, bacteria have an easy way to sneak into your bloodstream. They can easily creep into the arteries in your heart and cause those arteries to harden. Then, plaque develops in those blood vessels, thereby restricting blood flow. This increases the chances of heart attack and stroke.

How significant is the link between gum disease and heart disease? Researchers have found that folks who have periodontal health issues are twice as likely to have heart disease. This doesn’t mean that the increased risk is 100 percent due to suffering gums; periodontitis and cardiovascular conditions have several risk factors in common, such as smoking, that can affect both the mouth and internal systems.


While poor oral health can’t cause diabetes, it can cause problems for folks who already have diabetes. It may become more difficult to control blood glucose levels, heightening your risk of becoming the victim of many of the complications that often accompany diabetes.

This problem is a two-way street. If you don’t make a diligent effort to keep a tight leash on your diabetes, this can have a devastating effect on your oral health. For example, you may develop dry mouth, which means you’ll have less saliva to wash away bacteria. This increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.


Your brain is what makes you, you, and you want to keep a sharp mind and happy personality. Unfortunately, your mental health is at risk if your mouth isn’t in good shape. The bacteria that worms its way into your bloodstream might find its way to your brain, thereby increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Respiratory Infections

When bacteria build up in your mouth, you’re more apt to breathe it in. Therefore, it can cause respiratory infections. Your immune system usually rushes to the rescue, but it can’t always save you. You might experience swollen and irritated lungs. More serious conditions, such as pneumonia, may also develop. If you already have emphysema or other respiratory issues, poor oral health can make them worse.

A healthy smile can lead to a healthy you! Take good care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting your dentist. Your entire body will thank you.

About the Dentist

Dr. Robert Sikes is an experienced and caring dentist who is passionate about helping his patients achieve optimum oral health. If you have questions about how to best care for your teeth and gums, feel free to reach out to our office at 903-572-9720.

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