Importance of Oral Health to Overall Health

phoenix_dentistAccording to the Surgeon General’s report on oral health in America, a large percentage of the population suffers from a reduced quality of life due to oral and facial pain. This pain is largely due to infections of the gums that can lead to tooth loss. More than 75 percent of the population is affected by some type of gum disease.

Reports show that infections in the mouth can affect major organs. For example, oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to the heart, where they can cause bacterial endocarditis, a condition in which the lining of the heart and heart valves become inflamed. Poor mouth care also can contribute to oral cancer. In addition, poor oral health affects the digestive process, which begins with physical and chemical activities in the mouth.

Mouth tissues reflect symptoms of other problems throughout the body. In addition, many diseases can be diagnosed in their early stages through an oral examination. These diseases may be characterized by swollen or bleeding gums, mouth ulcers or dry mouth. Some of these diseases include diabetes, leukemia, cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.

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