Oral Health and Your Overall Health
Did you know that you can’t be healthy without good oral health? Oral health is vital to our overall health. It affects our ability to talk, eat healthy foods, do our job, learn at school, and socialize with others. Oral health can impact your quality of life in every way.
Poor oral health can have a major impact on other diseases and conditions that you may have. For example, people with poor oral health may have more trouble managing their diabetes or high blood pressure. In addition, people with certain chronic diseases are more likely to have serious gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. The table below shows the impact of certain chronic diseases on severe tooth loss.
Listed below are links to resources that will tell you more about the impact of oral health on your overall health.
Oral Health and Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases include those physical or mental health conditions that last more than a year and require ongoing treatment or limit activities of daily living, or both. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are very common in the United States; 6 out of 10 adults have one chronic disease, while 4 out of 10 have two or more.
Poor oral health can have an impact on several chronic conditions. The following links provide important information on chronic diseases and their connection to oral health.
Oral Health and Prenatal Care
Oral health should be a routine part of prenatal care for pregnant women as poor oral health can lead to poor health outcomes for the mother and her baby. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 75% of women develop gingivitis during pregnancy due primarily to hormonal changes. Left unchecked, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease which affects up to 40% of all pregnant women. There also may be a possible link between gum disease and preterm births, low birthweight babies and preeclampsia; however, further research is needed in these areas.
The oral health of mothers directly impacts the oral health of their children. Babies are not born with the bacteria that causes tooth decay in their mouth. Those bacteria are transmitted, usually by the mother, through kissing, the use of shared eating utensils, or other common behaviors.
Listed below are links to resources with more information about oral health and pregnancy.
Oral Health and Pregnancy Resources for Patients
- Ohio Department of Health, Building Blocks to Healthy Teeth
- Ohio Department of Health, Pregnancy and Oral Health
- Tips for Good Oral Health During Pregnancy
- American Dental Association Nutrition Tips for Pregnancy
- Getting Oral Health Care While You Are Pregnant – (English / Spanish)
- Taking Care of Your Oral Health When You are Pregnant – (English / Spanish)
Oral Health and Pregnancy Resources for Providers
- Ohio Department of Health, Oral Health and Pregnancy - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
- Tool kit to help new moms
- Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum - Pregnancy and Women’s Oral Health
- National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Oral Health During Pregnancy
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Oral Health Care During Pregnancy and Through the Lifespan
Oral Health, Dementia, and Mental Illness
Studies suggest a link between oral health and dementia. Poor oral health, such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss are more commonly found in older adults. They are also more likely to have cognitive impairment or dementia and may be at increased risk with each missing tooth.
Research has also suggested that people with anxiety or depression can also experience a decline in their oral health. Listed below is information to help you better understand these connections and learn what you can do about them.
- Tooth Loss in Older Adults Linked to Higher Risk of Dementia
- Good Oral Health May Help Protect Against Alzheimer’s
- Large study links gum disease with dementia
- Alzheimer’s Association: Dental Care
- A Deep Dive into the Connections Between Oral and Behavioral Health
- The Connection Between Oral and Mental Health
- Depression and Your Oral Health, Your Mouth and Your Mental Health are Related