The Oral Health Foundation’s annual campaign National Smile Month kicks off this week and is raising awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy smile. Poor dental health can cause big problems to your overall physical health. Problems that can be brought on or made worse are heart and lung disease, strokes and diabetes. It can even lead you to giving birth to a premature baby.
If you have gum disease, you are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease than people who don’t have gum disease. This is because bacteria from a mouth with gum disease can get into the bloodstream. The bacteria produce protein which affects the heart by making blood platelets stick together in the blood vessels of the heart. This makes clots more likely, reducing normal blood flow. In extreme cases this can cause a heart attack.
Some chest infections are thought to be caused by breathing in fine droplets from your throat and mouth into the lungs. This can cause infections like pneumonia or can make an existing lung condition worse. If you have gum disease you have more bacteria in your mouth so you may be more likely to get chest infections.
Studies have found that people who have had a stroke are more likely to have gum disease than people who have not had one. This is because bacteria from gum disease produce protein which can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, blocking blood supply to the brain, which in turn can cause a stroke.
If you are diabetic, you are more likely to have gum disease than non-diabetics. This may be because you are more prone to infection in general. Some research has also shown that if you have gum disease you are more likely to develop diabetes. If you do have diabetes it’s really important to take your oral health seriously as gum disease can increase your blood sugar. You may heal more slowly too. If you have diabetes or you are worried about developing it, you should discuss this with your dentist.
Not many people know that if you are pregnant and have gum disease you may be over three times more likely to have a premature baby. There is a one in four chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease will give birth before 35 weeks. Having gum disease treated properly when you are pregnant or before you get pregnant can reduce the risk of premature birth. Don’t forget that dental care is free when you are pregnant.
Revive Dental Care welcomes new NHS patients to join us at our practices in Monton, Davyhulme, Bexley Square Salford and Ancoats.