Can the health of my smile affect my overall health?

Absolutely! Your mouth is a window to your body's health and your family dental center can do a whole lot more than simply keep your teeth clean. Oral health and overall health are more connected than you might realize. Sometimes the first sign of disease shows up in your mouth. In other cases, infections in your mouth, such as gum disease, can cause problems in other areas of your body. Research shows and experts agree that there is an association between periodontal disease and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses. Regular brushing and flossing, eating healthy, and routine dental checkups help take care of more than your smile. These steps are a critical part of effective overall health care.

Few people realize that your teeth can (and will) affect your overall health. On the surface, a tooth problem seems to be isolated to just the mouth area. But while problems may start there, your family dentist will tell you that the ill effects can travel to other parts of the body as well.

Symptoms that your family dental center can detect, such as bleeding or swollen gums, bad breath, or soreness in the mouth can give insight to larger overall health issues within the body. Tooth decay leads to a lot more than just a sore mouth. Medical doctors have linked poor dental hygiene to a number of body issues such as thinning hair, bacterial infections, heart problems, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. In other words, not taking care of one's teeth can have damaging, and even fatal results.

The mouth is essentially a portal to the entire body. It's how we take things like food, drink, and medicine into our body. It is also how we can invite bacteria in. An increase of bacteria in the mouth can lead to infection entering the bloodstream, which can spread throughout the body, and makes it harder to fight off.

These bacteria can cause other issues such as acid reflux, which in turn can wear down and damage teeth every time that condition flares up (this creates a circular problem -- bacteria creates the acid reflux, which weakens teeth, which creates more bacteria, which increases the acid reflux, and so on). Another concern is oral cancer, which can increase the susceptibility of major illness and an early death in more extreme cases.

Just like you wouldn't ignore a prolonged sharp pain in your chest, or a persistent cold without seeing a doctor, you should never ignore Issues such as prolonged swelling or bleeding of the gums or nagging tooth pain. Basically, if there is some pain or irritation in the mouth that does not clear up on its own after two weeks, then there may be a larger problem at hand that your dentist at your family dental center can address."

Mouth care is a really simple process as long as it is performed regularly. An annual or twice-annual visit to the family dentist can keep track of or prevent the progress of any major dental issues. And if problems do arise, most conditions can be treated though a simple cleaning and/or medicated toothpaste. In larger instances, a solution may call for filling in a cavity, getting braces or dentures, or require more in-depth surgery depending on the situation.

Diet is important for maintaining oral and overall health. Eat meals that contain natural fruits, vegetables and also choose whole grain products that are not loaded up with sugar or high acidic content. And clean your teeth after every meal. This doesn't mean that a toothbrush must be kept on hand at all times, but flossing and even cleansing your palette with water after a meal can get rid of food build-up and those extra lingering sugars that tend to stick around in the mouth.

Keeping a healthy set of teeth is largely dependent on proper care and sticking to a regular habitual schedule of cleaning and check-ups. Not only does it provide for a nicer smile and fresher breath, it keeps any unwanted bacteria out of the body's system, making "you" run as smoothly as possible. You can help the health of your smile affect your overall health for the better.