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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What should I do if I am grinding my teeth?

Written by Dr. Srinivasa DMD, Paramount Dental Care (201) 864-4700

If you often find yourself with a sore jaw, don’t fret. Grinding your teeth, or bruxism is a common problem. When you grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of force on your TMJ joint, your facial muscles and neck muscles. This causes soreness (especially when you wake up in the morning), destruction of your teeth and in some cases can also cause headaches.

Bruxism can be caused by stress, anxiety, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, a bad bite or sleep disorders. It is also very common among people with anxiety and stress, especially those with a stressful work environment. Even children can develop bruxism.

To stop bruxism, oftentimes you must figure out the cause. Try to alleviate stress and anxiety. You should also visit your dentist to have your jaw and bite evaluated. Your dentist may fit you for a night guard, which will prevent you from grinding in your sleep. Your dentist may also refer you to a sleep specialist, who may preform a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders.