oral health and overall health

Why is oral health important and what’s the relationship between oral health and systemic disease. Learn more below.

Dental Problems Can Indicate Other Health Problems

Oral health and overall health, we’re explaining the connection so that you make better decisions. Your oral health can say a lot about your overall health. Seeing us at Icard & Strein Family Dentistry, a team of Harrisburg NC dentist is important for preventative care.

Understanding what your oral health is telling you can lead to the discovery of other bodily function problems. For example, an abcess that exists anywhere in the oral cavity often indicates a severe infection in either the tooth cavity or another place in your body. Furthermore, the pus that is present in these oral cavity abscesses can travel via blood vessels to other parts of the body including the brain.

Why is Understanding Oral Health and Overall Health Important?

Gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath are all problems you might already expect to stem from your mouth, but poor oral health can also contribute to a number of other diseases, including health problems, stroke, and preterm labor.

Let’s take a deeper look at how poor oral health affects your overall health.

Your Saliva Tells a Story

The saliva in your mouth is like an open book to determining what is going on with the rest of your body. A swab of saliva can sometimes detect various health issues, such as cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease, among others.

The role saliva plays in our body’s ecosystem is to wash away food from the mouth and attack viral pathogens, like the common cold, with antibodies. Further, the enzymes in our saliva prevent harmful bacteria and microbial invasions from causing health issues in the rest of our bodies.

oral health issues and overall health Relationship Between Oral Health and Overall Health (Systemic Disease)

Heart Disease

Oral inflammation caused by bacteria can lead to clogged arteries and blood clots, which cause heart attacks, endocarditis, and other conditions.


Preterm labor and low birth weight in pregnancies.

Gastrointestinal System

Problems with digestion. Chewing releases enzymes that aid with the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. When your teeth are infected, it can lead to digestive issues, such as intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive issue because the food is no longer broken down completely.


This is one of the most common ailments displayed in the mouth. Left untreated, diabetes can show signs in the mouth, like dry mouth, which is caused by high levels of blood glucose. Dry mouth puts patients at risk of cavities and periodontitis. When we see these signs in our patients at Icard & Strein Family Dentistry, we recommend a visit to a doctor for testing right away.

Why You Need to Brush and Floss Every Day

We know that brushing twice per day and flossing once daily prevents plaque buildup, but why is that so important to our oral health and overall health? When plaque builds up along the gum line, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow in the spaces between the gums and teeth. This gathering of bacteria is what causes gingivitis, and can lead to gum disease.

If left untreated, long-term gum disease can result in loss of teeth, among a host of other diseases.

How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

Maintaining good oral health easy and just a matter of basic hygiene and health.

  • Brush twice daily, preferably with fluoride toothpaste
  • Get cavities filled with a Composite filling to repair broken teeth
  • Floss daily
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles appear worn
  • Prevent plaque buildup by correcting teeth misalignment with ClearCorrect
  • Eat a healthy diet. Aim to “eat the rainbow” and consume colorful foods with every meal.
  • Avoid cigarettes and tobacco
  • Come to see us at Icard & Strein Family Dentistry twice annually.

When you come in for a visit to our local Harrisburg dental practice, we give our patients thorough exams, that go just beyond checking for healthy teeth. If our patients present with any symptoms of poor oral health, we’ll help you get back on track for a healthy mouth. Give us a call at 704.455.5003 to schedule an appointment or REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE.