Questions About Dentistry and Oral-Systemic Health

man worried about oral-systemic healthAlthough it focuses on your mouth and oral structures, dentistry is about more than just maintaining a clean and beautiful smile. As experts have known for quite some time, the state of your oral health can have a long-lasting effect on other vital systems, including your cardiovascular health, respiratory system, immune system, and more. With what we now know about dentistry and the impacts of oral-systemic health, good hygiene is no longer a suggestion, but a necessity for reducing your risks of a variety of other chronic health conditions.

The Mouth-Body Connection

Is it true that gum disease can lead to heart disease?

There’s no guarantee that if you develop gum disease, you’ll also develop heart disease. However, research has shown that gum infection, usually perpetuated by oral bacteria that incite inflammation, can significantly increase your risks of developing inflammatory heart conditions. By manipulating your immune system’s inflammatory response, oral bacteria (namely, Porphyromonas gingivalis) can also pose a threat to your systemic health if gum disease grows out of control.

What does oral health have to do with respiratory diseases?

Another avenue through which oral bacteria can affect your health is if they gather en masse due to poor hygiene and are inhaled into your lower respiratory tract. Besides inflammatory conditions, poor oral health has also been linked to bacteria-induced respiratory diseases, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How will I know if I need dental treatment?

The most effective way to detect the early development of gum disease and other oral health issues is to attend every scheduled dental checkup and cleaning appointment. During your visit, we’ll thoroughly inspect your teeth and gums for indications of infection, and recommend an appropriate treatment, if necessary, to stop your condition from becoming a health risk.


For over 15 years, Dr. Michele Collier and the talented professionals at Waterstone Family Dentistry have provided comfortable, compassionate dental care to patients of all ages from Fuquay Varina, NC, as well as Holly Springs, Angier, Willow Springs, Raleigh, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier by calling (919) 557-5250 today.

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