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5 Diseases Affected By Your Oral Health

Updated on July 10, 2014

What’s in a smile? When you smile it means you are happy. That you are glad to see someone or you are thinking of something that makes you feel really good. It also means you have a positive oral health.

However, your mouth can tell you even more than that… and it’s not always a bringer of good news. It’s because there are certain diseases that can now be diagnosed just by looking at the overall condition of your oral health. This is called the oral systemic connection.

Oral Systemic Connection… What Is It?

First of all, let’s define what is systemic. It means “pertaining to or affecting the whole body”. It is in comparison to a localised health condition. I bet you can think of certain diseases at falls under that but we’ll talk more about them later.

Therefore an oral systemic connection simply means that your oral health is connected to certain systemic diseases. The abnormalities of your oral cavity can affect or cause a systemic disease. What are examples of these diseases?

Your Mouth and Your Health

1. Cardiovascular disease

Think of high blood pressure (hypertension) and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) as just two of the ones that fall under this category. They often affect the heart by narrowing the blood vessels. The narrower the vessels, the less blood that goes in and out of the heart. It therefore also affects the other organs in the body.

What’s the connection?

It’s all about the bacteria that forms in the oral cavity. Through the mouth, these bacteria can enter the bloodstream and then contribute to the damaging of the blood vessels.

2. Diabetes

Due to our changing lifestyles and diet, more and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes every single day. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is when the body can’t control the movement of blood sugars. Type 2 is when the body has developed resistance to insulin (which allows the blood sugar to enter the cells). Both conditions increases the level of blood sugar and in turn has adverse effect on the other organs like kidney, the eyes, and the heart.

What’s the connection?

The presence of gum and bone disease can lead to poor blood sugar control. It also works the other way. Diabetes can contribute to the growth of gum and jaw bone disease.


3. Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory condition. It occurs when there are spasms in the bronchi of the lungs which in turn causes difficulty in breathing.It is often caused by allergic reactions.

What’s the connection?

It is not really the asthma that affects the oral health, but the medications that are taken for it. There are certain medications that decrease the amount of saliva produced. This is not good for the mouth because it increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

4. Osteoporosis

It is a condition where the bone becomes too brittle due to loss of tissue and minerals. It can be caused by deficiency in calcium or vitamin D and also due to hormonal changes.

What’s the connection?

It is possible for osteoporosis to weaken or damage the jaw bones. It can also contribute to the formation of gum or periodontal diseases.

5. Rheumatoid arthritis

It is a chronic and autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. The side effect is painful deformity and immobility. With this condition, the immune system (which is supposed to protect the body from viruses and bacteria) attacks the tissues in the body, in particular the thin membrane in the joints.

What’s the connection?

There are people with this condition that also experiences severe gum and jaw bone connection. There are also studies that show gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis.

What You Can Do...

So what can you do to avoid or lessen the effects of these diseases? The answer is simple: take really good care of your oral health.

Here’s how:

  1. Brush your teeth at least three times a day.
  2. Follow a healthy diet.
  3. Lessen stress. Have a good work + life balance.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. Visit your dentist more often.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I didn't realize how your body was affected by oral health. Good thing I follow your advice regularly.