The Oral and Overall Health Link

While it’s true that taking care of your teeth and gums is the best way to keep your smile healthy and beautiful, there are additional benefits to maintaining ideal dental health that you may not be aware of.

When you see your dentist regularly, they can detect certain indications of underlying health issues. Also, when you care for your teeth and gums, you are ridding your mouth of potent bacteria that can travel to other areas of your body and cause systemic disease.

Your Dental Care as a Health Screening

If your dentist sees any signs of systemic illness such as suspicious sores, spots in soft tissue, or discoloration of the tongue, they will discuss these findings with you. The dentist will make a recommendation for you to see your primary care physician or a specialist.

Some conditions that your dentist may be able to spot include:

  • Stress – Worn teeth are a telltale sign of teeth grinding, which is often linked to stress.
  • Diabetes – Gum disease that is resistant to treatment or progresses rapidly could be evidence that a patient has diabetes. Ongoing studies show a cyclical relationship between these two concerns, as diabetics are prone to developing periodontal issues.
  • Oral Cancer – Dentists are trained to spot suspicious lesions, particularly those that could be indicative of oral cancer.

Health Conditions Linked to Poor Oral Health

Dental conditions can also directly affect other parts of the body. Bacteria originating in the oral cavity can be especially potent and feed off the carbohydrates and sugars that are left behind after eating and drinking.

When these bacteria are allowed to grow unchecked, they can be inhaled, or absorbed into the body through small breaks in your gums or other soft tissue. These are generally a direct result of inadequate brushing and flossing and can be exacerbated by systemic illness.

Several University studies have shown that the following conditions can be caused or exacerbated by bacteria originating in the mouth:

  • Premature LaborGum disease produces enzymes that are similar to those released during labor and can trigger early delivery.
  • Heart and Lung Disease – In the case of severe gum disease, your heart and lungs should be examined as there is a correlation between the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease and the risk of cardiac and respiratory infection.

Protect your Smile and Your Health | Visit our Santa Rosa Dental Office

Understanding the relationship between oral and overall health makes going to the dentist all the more important. Proper dental care is an essential step in ensuring your overall health.

If you are in need of a dentist in Santa Rosa, CA, give Lehman Waggener Dental a call today.


We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the contact form below.