What Brushing Your Teeth Has to Do With Heart Disease
Ever had a canker sore while on your period? You probably didn’t think it was related, but your body’s increased production of estrogen likely caused the soreness in your mouth. Often, what’s happening in our bodies is related, so in honor of National Women’s Health Week, we’re sharing some unknown (but important) connections between oral hygiene and women’s overall health.
1. Women are more susceptible to certain diseases than men.
Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in America. Scientists have linked inflammation (even inflammation of the gums) to an increased risk of heart disease. Inflammation at the gum line causes bacteria and other toxins to spread to other parts of the body and heart.
Of the 10 million people in America with Osteoporosis, 80 percent are women. And while most of us think of the larger bones first, loss of bone in the jaw is also a concern, as it can lead to loss of a tooth!
2. Hormonal changes will have an effect on your oral health
Pregnant women’s fluctuating hormones, as well as hormone regulation like birth control (pills, IUDs, vaginal shots, patches), can lead to irritated, inflamed gums.
Did you know that as many as two in five pregnant women have a gum disease like gingivitis? Don’t let your pregnancy get in the way of your oral health routine. Studies have shown that bacteria caused by gum disease has an inflammatory effect on the body and may cause preterm labor. Visiting your dentist while pregnant is a great way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of menopause. Lowered levels of estrogen decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth, which often leads to sore mouths, cavities, ulcers, and tooth decay.
3. Your lifestyle matters!
Activities like smoking, heavy drinking, and extreme forms of dieting are no-gos when it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums.
You’ve read the literature; smoking of all kinds has been proven to be a significant factor in gum disease.
Have that glass of wine, but make sure water is next on deck. Alcohol’s drying effect on the mouth increases plaque and gum inflammation.
Vomiting and purging that come as a result of extreme dieting erodes tooth enamel. And not eating enough/not using your mouth to chew weakens the jaw.
Oral health can and will affect your whole body. Have a conversation with your dentist at your next visit to discuss how changes in your body could be putting your oral health at risk and vice versa. Oral health can and will affect your whole body. Have a conversation with your dentist at your next visit to discuss how changes in your body could be putting your oral health at risk and vice versa.