Is There a Relationship Between oral health and overall health?

Did you know that your oral health offers insight into your overall health?

There is a very strong connection that exists between general medicine and dentistry. In order to properly treat patients, all dentists should recognize this link and understand how to treat patients who suffer from various conditions.

Here at GlenHuntly Dental Clinic, we educate our patients about all things dentistry is.

We care about your general health as much as your oral health.


Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life. The mouth serves as a “window” to the rest of the body, providing signals of general health disorders.

Most dental problems are caused by bacteria or other harmful micro-organisms. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.


What conditions may be linked to oral health?


  • Diabetes is a disease caused by lack of insulin production in the pancreas. People with diabetes have a weakened immune system. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Researchers have found a link a between type 2 diabetes and periodontitis, or gum disease. One reason could be that when infections in your mouth get bad enough, they can lead to low-grade inflammation throughout your body, which in turn lowers your sugar-processing abilities. Ref: American Diabetes Association, Diabetic Forecast Mar 2016.
  • Heart Disease. Connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular conditions has been recognized. Small amounts of bacteria enter your bloodstream while you’re chewing. “Bad” bacteria from an infected mouth may lodge itself inside blood vessels, ultimately causing dangerous blockages. Ref: American Heart Association: “Dental Health and Heart Health”.
  • Pregnancy complications. Scientists believe that gum disease or inflammation in the mouth possibly triggers an increase in a chemical compound called prostaglandin, which induces early labor. Research has also found a relationship between periodontal disease and low birth weight. Ref: Saini R, Saini S, Saini S. Periodontitis: A Risk for delivery of premature labor and low birth weight infants; J Nat Sci Biol Med 2010 July-Dec;1(1):40-42.
  • Pneumonia. A study of elderly participants found that the number who developed pneumonia was higher in patients with periodontal infection than in those free from it. Bacteria in a not-healthy mouth can get transmitted into the lungs, causing pneumonia or aggravating COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. An improvement in oral health can lead to a reduction in respiratory infection. Ref: J Can Den Assoc 2002; 68(6):340-5
  • Osteoporosis. Researchers have suggested that a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased, which means the teeth no longer have a solid foundation. Ref:



General Health

Oral Health

What to do?

Diabetes Gums
  • Oral health can no longer be ignored. Always notify you dentist of condition


  • Protect natural teeth from decay and periodontal disease, and focus on early detection and prevention of these conditions


  • Regular periodontal care is essential to reduce risk factors for major chronic diseases
Heart Disease Notify your dentist of condition.
Pneumonia Periodontal infection
Pregnancy complications Periodontitis gum infections
HIV/AIDS Mucosal lesions
Osteoporosis bone loss and tooth loss
Alzheimer’s disease Worsening oral health



What you can do


Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment. Provide your dentist with a complete medical history and inform him or her of any recent health issues, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health.

Your oral health is more important than you might realize. Get the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health, book your today


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