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7 Health Conditions Your Dentist Can Help (That Aren’t in the Mouth!)

You might think that because the dentist only works in your mouth, that’s the only place they can impact your health, but you’d be wrong. The truth is that your mouth is the gateway to your body, and that an unhealthy mouth can have significant impact on the health of the rest of your body. Here are seven health conditions your dentist can help you treat.

Headaches (Including Migraines)

We talked last week about how TMJ can cause pressure on your trigeminal nerve, triggering migraines. In addition, TMJ can lead to tension in other muscles of the head, leading to tension headaches. It can even impact the stability and function of your neck, leading to pressure on the occipital nerves in the back of your head, triggering occipital neuralgia, a painful headache in the back of your head.

TMJ treatment by your dentist can reduce your headaches.

Heart Disease

Tired business man at workGum disease is when bacteria multiply in your mouth, infecting your oral tissues. But those bacteria don’t stay there.

When your gums are bleeding (even a small amount of bleeding that you might not notice), bacteria penetrate your bloodstream and find their way into your heart. They can cause a heart infection, and significant amounts of oral bacteria are found in arterial plaque, which can break off and cause strokes. Even without entering your bloodstream, oral bacteria trigger inflammation that causes your arteries to narrow and harden. Gum disease treatment by your dentist can reduce your risks from heart disease.

Another contributor to heart disease that your dentist can help with is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops during sleep, forcing you to wake up in order to resume breathing. It’s hard on your heart and many people with heart disease have sleep apnea. Your dentist can give you a comfortable, convenient sleep apnea treatment that is easy to use.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, usually caused by bacteria. But where do those bacteria come from? Many of them are oral bacteria that get inhaled. Treating gum disease can help reduce your risk of pneumonia.

Another way that oral bacteria get in your lungs is with CPAP, the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP forces air down into your lungs to make sure your breathing doesn’t stop, and that air can carry oral bacteria with it. You dentist offers an alternative to CPAP that doesn’t carry oral bacteria into your lungs.

Men’s Sexual Health

Gum disease can negatively impact a man’s sexual health. Men with gum disease are up to three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. They are also more likely to suffer prostate inflammation. Your dentist can treat gum disease and help relieve the effects.

Daytime Sleepiness

Do you feel worn out every day? Do you go through your day feeling sleepy? Does this not improve no matter how much sleep you think you get? Odds are that’s because you are suffering from sleep apnea, and you’re not really sleeping as well as you think you are.

Diabetes

Diabetes is another health condition that is affected by both gum disease and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts your body’s metabolism, increasing your risk of diabetes.

Gum disease and diabetes have a reciprocal relationship. Poor blood sugar control leads to an increase in gum disease risk, and gum disease makes it harder to control your blood sugar levels.

Prenatal Health

Gum disease has been associated with premature birth and low birth weight. The causal relationship is less clear here than it is for many other conditions commonly associated with gum disease, but treating gum disease does seem to reduce risks, so we know there’s more than an accidental correlation.

Because pregnancy also causes challenges for oral health, it’s important that women make an appointment with their dentist when they discover they are pregnant.

Oral Health Is Essential to Overall Health

Hopefully, looking at this list of health conditions that your dentist can help you with, you can begin to appreciate the essential links between your oral health and the rest of your health.

If you are looking for a Tarrytown dentist who can help protect your overall health, please call (914) 332-4402 for an appointment at Advanced Dentistry of Tarrytown today.