How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

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Why Do My Gums Bleed?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

When you think of oral hygiene, your initial thoughts may be about your teeth. However, your gums play a huge part in your mouth’s health. In some cases, bleeding gums can be the first sign of gum disease. However, there are a few other reasons why your gums may bleed.

It may feel like you need to brush hard to get your teeth clean. However, you should brush gently in small, circular motions. If you are brushing hard, this may be a cause for bleeding gums.

Another reason is that food buildup in your mouth causes plaque (mixture of food debris, bacteria & minerals) and  which hardens and turns into tartar/ calculus. Calculus irritates your gums, causing swelling and bleeding. The best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup is to brush and floss at least twice a day. It is also important to attend your biannual dental check up.

Your diet may also be to blame for your bleeding gums. Diets high in sugar or simple carbohydrates increase the likelihood for dental problems, as sugar creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that is one of the components of plaque.

Other bad habits, such as smoking, can increase your risk for gum disease. Smoking causes gum inflammation. Smoking also lowers your immune response, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria.

Bleeding gums can also occur during pregnancy, due to pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is partly caused by hormonal changes in the body which occur during pregnancy. After giving birth the gingivitis may dissipate.