Brush and floss. Avoid too many snacks. See your dentist regularly. How many times have you heard that? Now there are even more reasons to heed that advice. Taking good care of your teeth and gums isn’t just about preventing cavities or bad breath.
The mouth is a window into the health of the body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body such as diabetes, AIDS and Sjὃgren’s syndrome – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.
The mouth is filled with countless bacteria, some linked to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Accumulating scientific evidence suggests that periodontal, or gum, disease may be associated with a number of systemic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Pregnant women may be at risk for delivering preterm and/or low birthweight babies. It is important to note, however, that an association between these systemic conditions and periodontal disease does not mean that one condition causes the other.
For more information on oral health matters, visit www.ada.org