On topic with Dr. Dill: A window into your overall health

Taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just good for your mouth. It’s a key part of your overall health and well-being.

An increasing number of studies show an association between periodontal (gum) disease and other health conditions ranging from heart and lung disease to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, pneumonia, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer and premature labor. In fact, research shows that people with gum disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

Your gums can become infected by bacteria if you don’t properly brush and floss your teeth or when you miss regular dental visits. This allows plaque and tartar to build up, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Other risk factors for gum disease include smoking, diabetes, an unhealthy diet and stress. 

Gum disease can bring more than pain to your mouth. If left untreated, it can lead to issues with your whole body. Your dentist can also potentially identify signs in your mouth of more than 120 systemic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Tips to keep your mouth and body healthy

• Don't smoke.

• Limit alcohol consumption. 

• Brush twice a day. 

• Remember to floss daily. 

• Schedule regular visits with your dentist. 

While more research is needed, it’s clear that keeping your mouth healthy is essential to maintaining good overall health.

Meet Delta Dental’s Vice President of Dental Science and Network Strategy, Joseph Dill, DDS. With more than 30 years of experience in the dental field, including eight in private practice and 16 in dental insurance, Dr. Dill provides expert insights and helpful advice to keep you smiling bright.