The 4 Surprising Ways Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

February is American Heart Month, and while many of us understand the need for proper diet and exercise to protect our hearts, a lot of us overlook the effects of our dental health on our heart health. 

Surprising right? But it’s true! 

Dental health has a surprisingly strong correlation to overall health. So, in honor of American Heart Month, we’re sharing the top four reasons why dental health is OVERALL health and how you can preserve and protect your health starting in the mouth. 

Reason #1: Headaches or jaw pain

If you experience jaw joint pain or often grind your teeth at night, there’s a chance you’re experiencing the effects, like jaw pain or headaches. 

Headaches and jaw pain may be a common side effect due to more severe issues, like Temporomandibular joint disorder. More commonly known as TMJ, this disorder can cause restricted movement in the jaw, causing lockjaw or “clicks” when you move it back and forth. 

Teeth grinding is a bad habit that brings loads of discomfort. In both cases, we’ll be able to diagnose and treat the issue at hand. For instance, the most common cause of TMJ is a misalignment of teeth, often known as a “bad bite.” We’d be happy to remedy this pain with an Invisalign treatment plan. 

Reason #2: Infection Risks 

Poor oral health, like not brushing or flossing, leaves the mouth vulnerable to infections. If it’s severe enough, the infection can spread to the bloodstream and other body parts.

 If the infection is left without treatment, it will only worsen in time. Even so, it’s quite possible to need medical care beyond a doctor’s visit, like hospitalization.  

We encourage you to take proper steps to improve and maintain good oral health care, including scheduling regular wellness visits. At times, you may see anything unusual inside or around the mouth. 

Reason #3: Loss of (beauty) Sleep 

Do you toss and turn all night in oral pain? Poor oral health may be to blame for the loss of sleep. Additionally, staying up all night can affect productivity during the day and toll your mental health. And you’re most likely not getting enough beauty rest at night if you’re in pain. 

If you’re not resting easily due to oral pain at night, it may be due to teeth grinding. We recommend consulting with one of our dentists for a night-time mouth guard for a quick fix. 

#4: Poor nutrition 

How’s your diet? Poor nutrition can lead to damaged, crooked, and even missing teeth, which affects how you chow down on your food. In addition, your teeth may feel pain or experience sensitivity due to infection or some oral diseases, like gum disease. Avoiding certain foods due to discomfort can often lead to the body not receiving proper nutrition. 

Missing teeth are, well, unattractive. But missing teeth also make it harder to chew food, which has a more significant impact on diet and nutrition, affecting overall health and complicating current health conditions. 

#5: Heart disease

We’ve saved this surprising reason for last in honor of heart health month. And we need to say this one more time: take good care of your teeth. You wouldn’t want to end up with a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can wreak havoc on the heart valves. Additionally, if you’re not taking good care of your teeth, you may already have gum disease, which is directly associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. So when your heart isn’t doing well, it’s a big cause for concern. 

What can you do to improve your OVERALL oral health? 

The best time to start improving your oral health is now. With these tips below, you can lower your risk of infection and chances of developing oral diseases associated with overall health and well-being.

Dentist recommended tips to maintain good oral health: 

  • Brush teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluoridated tap water (which helps protect teeth)
  • Every three months or after sickness, replace the toothbrush 
  • Floss at least once a day to remove food stuck in between teeth
  • Avoid sugary foods as they can damage teeth 

The best tip we can offer is to schedule a regular check-up with one of our excellent dentists. They’ll be able to assess your overall oral health and make a plan to keep you on track for a happy, healthy smile. If you are ready get back on track with your oral health, give The Center for Implant and General Dentistry a call to schedule an appointment for your full-mouth dental implant consultation, (903) 231-6605.