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The mouth is the gatekeeper to your body’s health. Both the American Dental Association and American Medical Association agree that there is a very strong correlation between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body. Not taking care of your teeth can lead to more than just bad breath. There are links between heart disease, stroke, and more. Bleeding gums, cavities, dry mouth, or fungal infections can clue your dentist to check for more serious systemic problems such as diabetes, HIV, or leukemia.
Periodontal disease occurs when bone deterioration around the teeth leads to loosening and eventual tooth loss. Periodontal bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, which can cause respiratory problems and even erectile dysfunction. Diabetes can lead to increased oral infections. Ninety-five percent of US adults with diabetes also have periodontal disease in which 1/3 of those have led to tooth loss.
Loose teeth can be a symptom of osteoporosis. The risk of tooth loss for women with osteoporosis is three times greater than those without the disease. Pregnant women should be diligent about flossing and brushing to prevent plaque buildup. Periodontal disease has been associated with preterm delivery and low birth weight, which can be avoided with basic daily dental care.
Along with discolored teeth, smokers are at greater risk for several unpleasant oral issues, including but not limited to tooth loss. One half of all cases of severe gum disease are a result of smoking, and forty-one percent of daily smokers over age 65 are toothless. Smoking can also increase your chances of calculus (plaque that hardens on the teeth and can only be removed during a professional cleaning), deep pockets between the teeth and gums, loss of bone and tissue that support your teeth, mouth sores, and oral cancer.