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What is the connection between oral health and systemic health?


Written by Charan

Last updated

Oral health and systemic health are closely interconnected. Research has shown that there is a bidirectional relationship between the two, meaning that poor oral health can contribute to various systemic health conditions, and systemic health conditions can also have an impact on oral health.

One of the main connections between oral health and systemic health is inflammation. When there is inflammation in the mouth, such as gum disease (periodontitis), it can release harmful bacteria and inflammatory substances into the bloodstream. These substances can travel to other parts of the body and contribute to the development or worsening of certain systemic health conditions.

Some of the systemic health conditions that can be influenced by poor oral health include:

  • Heart disease: The bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems, such as clogged arteries and heart disease.
  • Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to gum disease, and gum disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, creating a vicious cycle.
  • Respiratory infections: The bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.
  • Pregnancy complications: Pregnant women with gum disease have a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight babies.
  • Alzheimer's disease: Some studies have suggested a possible link between oral bacteria and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

It is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, to prevent or manage oral health issues. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and avoiding tobacco use, can contribute to both oral and systemic health.