Do you visit the dentist as often as you hit the gym? Probably not, and that makes sense. But, if you must choose between one of the other, you should go to your Hamilton dentist. The reason is that your oral health impacts your physical health.

What’s the connection?

Studies show that gum disease increases the risk of developing systemic disorders. This can include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and vice versa. Poor oral health also has an association with low birth weight and premature births in pregnant women. A meta-analysis of medical histories suggests that people with gum disease are more likely to die of stroke or heart attack.

Researchers believe the connection is bacteria. The human mouth is teeming with it, and most are harmless. But, when you have poor dental hygiene and develop gum disease, the bacteria can enter the respiratory and digestive tracts.

The body can often fight off most bacteria to keep them from flourishing. However, if you have poor oral hygiene and a compromised immune system, the bacteria can take hold.

Among the health problems that researchers believe links to oral bacteria include:

  • Cardiovascular disease, most likely due to inflammation and infections
  • Pneumonia, when the bacteria get into the lungs
  • Endocarditis, infection of the inner lining of the heart valves
  • Premature births and low birth weight

Some diseases make gum disease worse because they weaken the immune system. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, because it causes dry mouth
  • Eating disorders

What can I do to maintain oral health?

The most important thing you can do is pay regular visits to your Hamilton dentist. Update them about any medication and health challenges you have. Some of them might lead to gum disease and other oral health problems. Your dentist will advise you about any measures you should take to protect your mouth, teeth, and gums.

Alternatively, regular visits may also give you an early warning of incipient disease. Dentists can recognize the signs of diabetes, heart conditions, osteoporosis, and mouth and throat cancers through oral examination before you feel any symptoms. Early detection often means better outcomes.

Aside from regular visits to your dentist, you should also practice good oral hygiene. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste to brush your teeth twice daily. Floss daily and use a dentist-approved mouthwash after brushing. Avoid sugary foods and smoking.

If you have bad breath, sensitive teeth, bleeding, or swollen gums, you should consult your dentist right away. You might already have gum disease.

What if I already have gum disease?

Your dentist will diagnose your problem during consultation. If you catch it early, you should only have a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis. This disease only infects the gums. However, it can progress to periodontitis, which affects the bone.

Your Hamilton dentist will provide you with the proper treatment. This often involves deep cleaning, scaling, and root planing. Of course, the treatment will depend on the severity of the problem.

Medications may include antiseptic or antibiotic microspheres, gels, or oral antibiotics. Severe cases may need surgery.

Keep Physically Fit by Visiting Your Hamilton Dentist

The best type of cure is prevention. Avoid oral and gum diseases by visiting your dentist and practicing good hygiene.