Can “bad teeth” affect your health?

Having bad teeth isn’t good for your looks, it can cause bad breath and it can make eating difficult. But did you know that poor oral health can also have an impact on your health overall?

If you have gum disease, that means you have bacteria in your mouth that can spread through your body. There are even links between poor oral health and heart health. Read on to find out how the health of your teeth and gums and the health of your whole body are connected.

Gum disease: a common oral health problem

A very large percentage of Americans have some form of periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, some estimates put that number at almost 50%. Gum disease can be inherited or be a side effect of illness or some medications. That makes even people who take good care of their teeth and visit the dentist regularly susceptible to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, you are even more likely to get gum disease.

Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria. Gingivitis can be treated with a professional dental cleaning. If gingivitis is not treated, the sticky plaque on your teeth can harden and become tartar. When this tartar starts to creep below the gum line, gingivitis has advanced to the more serious of form of gum disease called periodontitis. This has to be treated with a deep cleaning to get below the gum line to clean the tartar away.

The connection between gum disease and the rest of your body

Like any infection, gum disease can spread to other parts of the body. An unhealthy mouth can send bacteria throughout your system when you eat, swallow or breathe. These bacteria can contribute to diseases including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory infections.

Sometimes the situation works in reverse, with other diseases making gum disease worse. Pregnant women, people who are HIV positive and people with diabetes may be at greater risk of gum disease and oral health problems.

Catch gum disease early

Gum disease often goes unnoticed in its earliest stages because it doesn’t have obvious symptoms. By the time you notice swollen gums, bleeding gums or have pain, the disease has taken hold. That’s why it’s important to visit the dentist every six months. Our Chicago dentist can catch gum disease before you notice it.

If you have dental problems like crooked teeth, missing teeth or bad teeth, taking care of your oral health can be more difficult. Correcting dental problems such as these can keep your mouth healthy and halt the progress of bad bacteria.

Contact us to set up an appointment to talk about how bad teeth can affect your whole body’s health. We can schedule an appointment at your convenience for a consultation or an exam, to keep bad bacteria at bay and keep you in good health.