Everyone knows that dental care plays a significant role in the health of your teeth and mouth, but modern research suggests that its effects go much further. With strong evidence of a link between the health of your mouth and the rest of your body, dentists are beginning to expand the scope of dental health into comprehensive oral-systemic health.
But what is oral-systemic health and what does it mean for your dental care?
What Is Oral-Systemic Health?
Oral-systemic health is the idea that oral health plays a significant role in the health of the rest of the body. This oral-systemic link has gained recent attention with several studies and articles demonstrating a correlation between periodontitis and several diseases.
What is Periodontitis?
Some common symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Discolored gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- The space between teeth increasing
Fortunately, periodontitis is easily prevented with routine dental care.
How Is It Connected to Other Diseases?
Recent scientific studies have revealed a correlation between periodontal disease and a variety of other diseases, including:
- Heart disease
In these cases, patients with periodontitis were significantly more likely to develop the medical issue in question than patients who never had periodontitis.
Since dental experts are just in the beginning stages of understanding this apparent link, the specific causes are unclear. Although there is a correlation, there isn’t enough evidence to conclusively say either issue causes the other. However, the correlation is strong enough that the dental community is starting to take action.
What Does Oral-Systemic Health Mean for You?
The apparent link between oral and systemic health has caused many dentists to call for a bridge between the medical and dental profession. Going forward, patients can expect more collaboration and discussion between your dentist and physician as they both work to maximize your overall health.
How should you change your own daily dental care routine? The basic care steps still apply. Brush twice a day. Floss once a day. Limit sweet foods. You may want to pay more attention to brushing and caring for your gums.
You should also make sure to keep up with your dental checkups. A trained dentist can clear away the hardened bacteria that can cause gum disease and catch dental issues early. With proper attention and care, you’ll be taking care of a lot more than your smile.