Not many people realize that oral health is a very important subject emphasizes Dr. Kami Hoss. Being an orthodontist, he understands clearly how the overall health of any individual can be deeply affected by oral ill health. He emphatically talks about how dental problems can lead to a range of medical dangers and complications that extend beyond the mouth and teeth. Here are some of the medical dangers associated with untreated dental problems:
- Infection and Abscesses: Cavities are a very common occurrence in both young and old. When such cavities or gum disease are left untreated they can progress to infections within the tooth or gums. These infections can easily spread to other parts of the body. One may also be faced with potentially causing serious health issues if not addressed promptly.
- Respiratory Infections: Bacteria from dental infections can be aspirated into the respiratory tract, leading to pneumonia and other respiratory infections. COVID can also be acquired because of such poor oral health conditions. This is particularly in individuals with compromised immune systems.
- Cancer: It is surprising to know that people with dental issues are not just susceptible to oral cancer. There is no doubt that untreated oral cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. Early detection and treatment are critical for improving outcomes. However, researchers have revealed patients with periodontal diseases have a high chance of experiencing lung as well as pancreatic cancer. Studies are still being carried out to study in deeper detail the possible connection between gum disease and other types of cancer.
- Digestive Disorders: Improper chewing owing to various factors of the oral condition is a big contributor to digestive problems. Additionally, oral infections are known to affect the gastrointestinal tract.
- Mental Health Effects: Dental problems can cause embarrassment and low self-esteem, leading to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. As per Kami Hoss, individuals with gum disease, called periodontitis, for over a decade, are likely to experience Alzheimer’s disease.
- Diabetes Complications: Dental problems can have a significant impact on diabetes, and the relationship between the two conditions is bidirectional. Diabetes can affect oral health, and poor oral health can complicate diabetes management. Gum diseases can make it more challenging to control blood sugar levels as inflammation in the mouth can lead to increased insulin resistance. They potentially worsen diabetes-related complications. Thus, people with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease.
- Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women with gum disease may be at an increased risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also make gum tissue more susceptible to infection.
- Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease has been associated with periodontal (gum) disease. While the exact relationship is not fully understood, it highlights the potential systemic impact of oral health.
In conclusion, dental health and overall health are intimately intertwined, with one significantly impacting the other. Negligence in any one aspect can adversely affect the other. Thus, it is time that more attention be paid to Poor dental health can lead to poor oral health, advises Dr. Kami Hoss.
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