How Does Oral Health Affect Your Overall Well-Being?

Some patients might think of oral health as an independent thing, but it actually is intricately interconnected with many other aspects of our bodies. Charvet Dental Center is here to explain this concept further and answer: How does oral health affect your overall well-being?

Aspects of Oral Health

When you’re unpacking the holistic nature of oral health, there are a few areas people might overlook! 

  • Teeth: This would seem like the most obvious factor. Maintaining healthy teeth involves regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Regular dental checkups and cleanings help to detect and address issues early on.
  • Gums: Healthy gums are vital for overall health. Gum disease is characterized by inflammation, bleeding, or recession of the gums. It can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
  • Tongue and Soft Tissues: The tongue, cheek, and roof of the mouth also play roles in oral health. Tongue cleaning helps to remove bacteria and bad breath. Regular dental checkups also monitor for oral lesions or abnormalities that may indicate underlying health issues.
  • Breath: Fresh breath can be negatively impacted by gum disease, dry mouth, or underlying medical conditions. Maintaining good oral hygiene and staying hydrated can help prevent bad breath.
  • Saliva: Our saliva plays a crucial role in oral health by helping to neutralize acids, wash away food particles, and prevent tooth decay. Drinking plenty of water and chewing gum are both ways to stimulate saliva production and avoid dry mouth, which can be an issue on multiple fronts.


How Does Oral Health Affect Your Overall Well-Being?

Oral and Overall Health

So, what are some of the ways oral health can connect back to the health of the body in other areas? There might be more points of similarity than you’d expect. Dr. Charvet and Dr. Charvet Jr. want you to be aware of all of these so that you can live the healthiest life possible.

  • Cardiovascular Health: Some research suggests that inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease (gum disease) can play a role in developing cardiovascular disease. Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through inflamed gums, potentially contributing to the formation of plaque in arteries, thereby increasing risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes: Periodontal disease can also make it more challenging to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Conversely, uncontrolled diabetes can impair the body’s ability to fight infections, including those in the mouth, leading to an increased risk of gum disease. 
  • Respiratory Health: Oral bacteria and inflammation from gum disease can be aspirated into the lungs, potentially causing respiratory infections such as pneumonia. This risk is particularly heightened in vulnerable populations such as older adults and those with already compromised immune systems. 
  • Pregnancy: Poor oral health during pregnancy has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase the risk of gum disease, emphasizing the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking dental care during pregnancy.
  • Digestive Health: Digestive disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can lead to acid erosion of the teeth, causing tooth decay and enamel erosion. Additionally, oral health problems, such as tooth loss or oral infections, can affect a person’s ability to chew food properly, leading to nutritional deficiencies and digestive issues. 
  • Mental Health: Oral health can influence mental well-being and self-esteem. Poor oral health, such as missing or decayed teeth, can impact self-confidence and social interactions, potentially leading to feelings of embarrassment or depression. If one of these issues is misalignment, keep in mind that Charvet Dental Center offers Invisalign in our office.
  •  Migraines and Headaches: Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), which include pain or dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, can lead to chronic headache or migraines. Addressing underlying oral health issues or receiving orthodontic treatment can help to alleviate these symptoms.
  • Immune System: The mouth serves as a gateway to the rest of the body, and oral health can affect the immune system’s ability to defend against infections. Untreated oral infections can strain the immune system, making it more susceptible to other illnesses and infections.
  • Sleep Disorders: Conditions like sleep apnea, characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, can be linked to oral health factors such as jaw structure and position of the tongue. Orthodontic treatments or oral appliances may be recommended to address these issues and improve sleep quality.
  •  Memory and Cognitive Function: Emerging research suggests a possible association between poor oral health, particularly gum disease, and cognitive decline or dementia in older adults. Chronic inflammation and bacterial infections in the mouth may contribute to systemic inflammation and brain health issues.


How Does Oral Health Affect Your Overall Well-Being?

A Holistic Approach

Charvet Dental Center is obviously focused on your oral health most of the time, but your collective health is just as important to us. We hope we’ve provided you with some good information as to how treating your dental health can impact your whole body. If you have any further questions or are seeking treatment, feel free to contact our Metairie office.