Most of the time, poor oral health is thought to lead to an increased risk of developing certain types of health conditions. However sometimes it works the other way, too. There are actually a number of health conditions that put individuals at a higher risk of problems like tooth decay or gum disease. So if you have any of the conditions listed below, be sure to pay special attention to your mouth.
People with diabetes are well aware of the struggle to maintain low blood sugar levels. But what they may not realize is that high blood sugar levels can promote infections in the mouth. If left untreated, these infections can cause permanent damage to the jaw and even tooth loss. So make sure to keep your blood sugar levels in check and to see your dentist if you have symptoms like red or bleeding gums, pain in the mouth, or sores.
As a woman’s hormones rise during pregnancy, her gums begin to undergo changes like swelling and bleeding. So she may find that food gets trapped between the teeth more easily (which can lead to decay) or that her gums are more irritated than usual. All pregnant women should make sure to maintain good brushing and flossing habits throughout their pregnancy. They should also work with their dentist to treat gingivitis and any oral infections as soon as they arise.
Obesity causes dental problems in two different ways. First, obesity leads to poor food choices and higher amounts of sugar in the diet – both of which increase the risk of tooth decay and other health problems. But secondly, having a higher percentage of body fat may actually change the rate at which gum disease progresses in the body. Two studies have shown that obese patients with periodontitis (gum disease) experience a faster progression of the disease than those of normal weight. So for obese patients, it is even more important to engage in regular preventative dental care to avoid long-term consequences.
Osteoporosis results in fragile bones all over a person’s body, including the bones in the jaw. This means that as a person ages and their bones become weaker, they may find themselves experiencing dental problems like tooth loss. And women may have an additional reason for concern as they age. Some studies have found that women who suffer from osteoporosis also have a higher incidence of gum disease. More research is still needed to understand why, however.
Cancer itself doesn’t cause oral health problems. However, getting cancer treatments can lead to some unexpected dental side effects. Studies show that more than a third of cancer patients experience some type of dental complication as a result of their treatment. Some of the most common problems include inflammation, dry mouth, oral infections, and changes in taste. In rare cases, untreated infections can become very serious and systemic, so it is important to maintain regular visits with a dentist throughout your treatment.