Big Smile Dental

Understanding the connection between healthy gums and overall health in Chicago

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of good health. Your quality of life, productivity, longevity, and much more are affected or determined by health. Yet, we tend to not think about it – until we get sick. Since prevention really is the best medicine, it’s wise to understand what can make you sick, and how to avoid it. One important factor that comes as a surprise to many people is gum health.

How oral health affects whole health

How can a problem with that small amount of tissue surrounding teeth impact your whole body? To answer the question, think for a moment about something most people spend a lot of time worrying about these days, internet security. Imagine that your whole computer is healthy, but you get a virus in one small program. Would you be surprised if it affected overall performance? Of course not. It’s all part of the same computer. If one program is infected, you know the entire system has a problem. The human body works in much the same way. Gum disease is an oral infection, and the bacteria can spread via your lungs and digestive system. Originally, this was believed to be the link between oral health and whole health. It turns out, the situation isn’t so simple. Infection triggers inflammation, and when the infection is chronic, so is the inflammation. More recent research indicates that chronic inflammatory response, and the changes it causes in your immune system, may be the primary cause of oral health related systemic problems.

How you can halt or prevent gum disease

Okay, so you need to keep your mouth healthy. How? Avoid plaque buildup is the key, but that can be easier said than done. Everyone has different risk factors and different oral health needs. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure it out. You can optimize and protect your oral health in two simple steps. First, see your dentist regularly. Second, follow the recommendations of your dentist or hygienist for at-home care. Please call 773-772-8400 with any questions or appointment requests.