1/3 of Americans have not visited a dentist within the past year — despite the fact that, in order to maintain good oral health, you should be visiting the dentist biannually.

Whether your reason for not visiting the dentist is due to dental phobia, a lack of cosmetic problems, or even because you feel like you can’t afford it, you need to book that appointment as soon as possible.

Why?

Because even if you can’t see a problem in your mouth, you could be dealing with potentially serious and even life-threatening oral health problems.

What’s more?

Mounting evidence shows that there is a direct link between your oral health and overall health.

Keep reading to get a better understanding of the popular phrase “good health starts in the mouth.”

1. Oral Health And Your Lungs

You might not think that there’s much of a link between your oral health and overall health, but let’s take a look at how your lungs can be seriously compromised by poor oral hygiene.

If you’ve neglected oral care to the point that you’ve developed periodontal disease, you’re at a much higher risk for developing a lung infection.

Especially if you already have a condition like asthma, you may notice an increase in difficulty breathing with gum disease.

You’ll also increase your risk of catching pneumonia, which, especially if you’re older or have a weakened immune system, can sometimes be fatal.

How does this happen?

Because of the high presence of bacteria already in your mouth, you’re going to have trouble filtering out even more germs every time you inhale.

Finally, a recent study written up by the American Academy of Periodontology found that there may be a direct link between lung cancer and gum disease.

Especially if you smoke, and are therefore already at a higher risk for developing lung cancer, you can’t afford to ignore your oral health. Your dentist may even be able to provide you with several valuable resources that will help you to quit smoking for good.

In order to keep your lungs healthy, it’s important to visit the dentist regularly. If you suspect that all isn’t well in your mouth, make that appointment sooner rather than later.

It might just save your life.

2. Your Heart Health

One of the most important links between oral health and overall health?

Taking good care of your teeth, tongue, and gums has a direct impact on your cardiovascular health. In fact, if you have a gum disease, such as gingivitis, then you’re much more likely to have a stroke or a heart disease.

How does this happen?

Most dentists and doctors believe that the buildup of bacteria in your mouth will eventually enter into your body’s bloodstream.

Over time, this bacteria builds up and begins to cling to the fat deposits in the blood vessels of your heart. This build up eventually turns into numerous blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or a more long-term heart condition.

3. Overall Joint Health

If you’re like most people, you probably grind your teeth — whether or not you realize you’re doing it.

Over time, grinding your teeth can cause serious migraines, earaches, chips in your teeth, problems with your fillings, and even potential issues within your jaw.

This is because teeth grinding wears down the lower joints within your jaw, which can lead to the development of TMJ.

Grinding your teeth is a serious indicator of anxiety, with over 70% of teeth grinding directly related to someone’s stress levels. This means that the connection between oral health and overall health is mental just as much as it is physical.

Your dentist can help you to find ways to stop grinding your teeth, and can repair any damage grinding has done before it gets worse.

4. Oral Health And Your Pregnancy

If you’re currently expecting, then you should be especially aware of the link between oral health and overall health.

If you’re pregnant and have any stage of gum disease, you are putting your baby at risk for developing gestational diabetes.

Poor oral hygiene could also cause you to deliver your baby prematurely, or to deliver a baby that’s at a very low birthweight.

Additionally, if you’re not taking care of your teeth, gums, and mouth throughout your pregnancy, you could increase your baby’s chances of being born with a birth defect.

Your baby may also be at a higher risk for asthma, learning disabilities, and yes, even death — especially as it relates to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.)

We think we’ve said enough to convince you to make an appointment at a reliable dentist’s office like DentaCare of Knoxville.

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the link between oral health and overall health.

Remember, if you don’t take proper care of your teeth, you’re at risk for developing lung cancer, more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, and even put the safety of the child you’re carrying at risk.

In short: even if you’re afraid of the dentist or feel like it’s a financial burden, the benefits still outweigh the expense and inconvenience.

Looking for more information on how to practice excellent preventative healthcare? Curious about how to ensure that your home environment is free from dangerous toxins and chemicals?

If so, spend some time reading Florida Independent.

In addition to valuable life hacks on a variety of subjects, we’ll also tell you how you can improve your overall health and wellness.

When you’re ready to start feeling better, visit our site.

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