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You may think that oral health issues are just that: oral. You may be unaware of just how much your dental health is related to your overall health, and why proper oral hygiene and dental care are so important.

Gum disease can have an impact far beyond loose teeth, since gum disease means that bacteria can enter your body through your mouth. If you inhale the bacteria present in gum disease over a long period of time, you could put yourself at risk for a respiratory infection. If the bacteria finds its way into your bloodstream, you run the risk of hardened arteries and the infection of your heart valves. Or, the bacteria could enter your nervous system, leading to dementia.

When you are pregnant, the hormonal changes in your body can increase your risk of gum disease. Morning sickness, gastrointestinal reflux and anorexia and bulimia can result in increased acid in your mouth, contributing to dental erosion. People who live with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease, and diabetes can also make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Medications can have side effects such as tooth discoloration, bleeding, dry mouth, and increased growth in your gums.

Not only should you talk to your dentist about your medical history, you should also keep him informed about any prescription medications or supplements that you are taking. Of course, you should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day, and see your dentist for your routine checkups.

If it is time for your cleaning and exam, or if you have a specific problem that needs to be addressed, our dentist, Dr. Samuel Richey will be happy to help. If you live in the Riverton, Utah, area, you can make an appointment at Lighthouse Dental & Orthodontics by calling 801-871-3499.