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What is the Relationship Between Oral Health and Systemic Diseases?

Oral health plays an integral role in your overall health because your mouth is the entry point for many bacteria. If you have plaque build-up, it can wreak havoc on other parts of your body due to the spread of bacteria and the inflammation it can cause, especially if you have a systemic disease.

Continue reading to learn about the correlation between dental health and systemic diseases. 

What are Systemic Diseases?

A systemic disease is any condition that affects multiple organs and tissues or the whole body. Individuals with a systemic disease have a lower ability to fight off inflammation and infection. Systemic conditions that can be impacted by poor dental health include heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer, among others. 

In today’s blog, we will take a closer look at each of these conditions. 

1. Heart Disease

Individuals with heart disease have swollen arteries, meaning they receive less blood flow to their heart compared to people without this condition. Unfortunately, a decrease in blood flow can lead to heart attacks. People with heart disease can’t risk developing gum disease because the bacteria can travel through the body via the vascular pathways in one’s mouth; this includes pathways leading to the heart. 

In other words: the more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more bacteria you may have in your heart. Fortunately, if you maintain good oral health, you can decrease the bacteria that can make its way into your heart. 

2. Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease and lose more teeth compared to those who don’t have this condition. Moreover, gum disease can have adverse consequences on their ability to regulate their glucose levels. It can create a circular relationship because a person’s inability to control their glucose levels can provide an environment for the bacteria that cause gum disease. 

It’s important to note bacteria thrive in sugary foods and beverages, so individuals with diabetes should control their blood sugar levels to decrease the risk of developing gum disease. 

3. Breast Cancer

If you have breast cancer, it’s essential to resolve any dental problems you may have before you begin cancer treatments. Your dentist or oral surgeon can work with your oncologist to develop a treatment plan. Because some medications suppress white blood cells, which generally protect against infections, deep cleanings, and other invasive dental procedures should be done in advance—preferably before your cancer treatments. 

Women who have gum disease have a 14 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer over women who don’t have it, according to researchers at the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health. Unfortunately, this percentage jumps by over 30 percent if the woman smokes. These statistics highlight the importance of staying up-to-date with your dentist and doctor visits.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here for You

If you live with a systemic disease, it’s crucial to brush your teeth twice a day, floss before going to sleep, and visit your dentist and doctor each year. If your dentist tells you that you need oral surgery, the board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help. We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more. We have offices in South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, and Tooele. Schedule your free consultation today.


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