The link between oral health & overall health

The link between oral health & overall health

Good Oral Health = Good Overall Health

Oral health is essential to overall health. Your dental care provider may focus primarily on teeth and gums, but the truth is, your family dentist does not treat oral health in isolation from other health issues. In fact, dental health professionals play a key role in your overall health management.

The mouth provides early indicators of serious health issues:

  • Aphthous ulcers (canker sores) may signal that a patient has Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease
  • Mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection
  • Bone loss in the jaw can be an early indicator of skeletal osteoporosis
  • Pale and bleeding gums can signal the existence of blood disorders,
  • The appearance of tooth enamel can indicate issues with bulimia or anorexia.

Early detection and management of these conditions can create more positive outcomes.

Maintaining good oral health can improve overall health.  Bacteria in the mouth can lead to infection in the mouth known as Periodontal disease and can lead to infections in other parts of the body, particularly when the immune system has been compromised. For example, periodontal disease may lead to infectious endocarditis when left untreated.

Apart from the direct connection, major chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, often share common risk factors with oral disease, and if these risk factors are managed in order to improve dental health, overall health also improves.

Common Factors that contribute to issues with Oral Health and Overall Health

Some common risk factors that oral disease shares with other chronic diseases/conditions are:

  • Poor Diet: A poor diet that creates a risk factor for dental caries, and also often contributes to coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers, obesity
  • Tobacco smoking/chewing: Tobacco creates a risk factor for oral cancers and periodontal disease, and it can also contribute to coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, other forms of cancer and diabetes
  • Alcohol consumption: Alcohol increases the risk for oral cancer as well as for other cancers, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, and can lead to injuries through accidents
  • Stress: Too much stress is a risk factor for periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease and can contribute to strokes.

Treating an issue that has been allowed to go untreated for a long time generally requires more drastic and expensive corrective measures. That’s why it’s important to get  regular dental check ups.  Early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective way to combat most health problems.

At Distinctive Dentistry we implement the most efficient and innovative diagnostic tools in order to facilitate more thorough examinations and earlier detection of any problems.  Often, this translates to easier, less expensive treatment methods for patients. Schedule your check up soon. Dr. Keith Phillips has nearly 30 years of experience meticulously treating your oral health so that you can maintain better overall health. He was voted “Seattle’s Best” Dentist last year.  You deserve the best.

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5615 Valley Ave. E., Tacoma, WA 98424


(253) 922-6822


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