What is the Oral-Systemic Link?

What is the Oral-Systemic Link?
SDCC Oral Systemic Link

by | Apr 18, 2023 | Oral Health

The oral-systemic link refers to the relationship between our mouth and the rest of our body. Studies have found that poor oral hygiene can increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.

The good news is that maintaining good dental hygiene can help reduce your chances of developing these serious health problems. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are essential habits that should be incorporated into everyone’s daily routine. By taking care of our overall oral health, we may also be taking care of our general well-being!

What is the Oral Systemic Link?

The oral-systemic link is a concept that suggests that there is an interdependent relationship between the health of the mouth and overall systemic health. It has been recognized that poor oral health can adversely affect other areas, such as:

  • Hearts
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Brain

How? One possible explanation for this link is the presence of harmful bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. This inflammation has been linked to numerous chronic diseases. Another factor is poor immune system function caused by gum disease, making it harder for your body to fight infections. 

Understanding this interconnectedness between oral and systemic health highlights the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing twice daily and flossing regularly while simultaneously managing underlying systemic illnesses through medication or lifestyle changes like diet modification.

The World Health Organization estimates that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people globally.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a common oral health issue caused by a bacterial infection in the gums that can lead to tooth loss. However, the impacts of gum disease go far beyond just oral health.

Severe periodontal diseases are estimated to affect around 19% of the global adult population, representing more than 1 billion cases worldwide.

  • Studies show that individuals with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease as those without it.
  • Gum disease has been linked with an increased risk of stroke due to plaque buildup in the artery wall, which increases the risk of stroke.
  • People with uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to developing gum infections because high glucose levels weaken their immune systems.
  • Periodontitis causes inflammation which can cause damage to the blood vessels in the brain, leading to an increased risk of stroke.

The oral systemic link suggests a significant association between oral health and systemic diseases such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes and metabolic disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Several cancers

How to Maintain Good Oral Health

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Use a fluoride mouth rinse
  • Regular dental checkups
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats
  • Do not use tobacco

The oral systemic link is critical in maintaining good oral health and improved overall well-being and quality of life. A healthy mouth lets individuals eat comfortably and speak clearly while avoiding dental pain or discomfort. This, in turn, leads to better self-esteem and confidence.
Taking care of one’s oral health should be considered, as it is crucial in maintaining optimal systemic health. ndividuals can significantly improve their overall wellness by making small changes in their daily routine, such as practicing proper brushing techniques or cutting back on sugary snacks.

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