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Can dental problems cause other health issues?

    Your teeth are an essential part of your body, after all, without teeth, you’ll find it very difficult to eat your food. However, what you may not realize is that the state of your teeth actually has a direct link to your overall health.

    The reason is surprisingly simple. Your teeth are very close to many blood vessels, any infection in the area of your teeth can easily travel into your bloodstream and around your body, potentially giving you a host of other issues.

    Gum Disease

    Brushing your teeth every day is essential to helping reduce the likelihood of gum disease. When you get gum disease you basically have an infection in your gums. This can cause the gums to recede and damage the structure under your teeth, weakening your teeth. 

    However, the infection can also enter the bloodstream and is through to attack the actual blood vessels between your heart and brain. The result is damaged blood vessels which are more likely to rupture. 

    It’s important to note that this happens over an extended period of time, seeing your dentist regularly will help to prevent issues and treat them.

    This is why it is important to visit your dentist at least twice a year and follow their advice when they suggest fillings or porcelain bridges. Looking after your teeth can reduce the risk of issues occurring. After all, gum disease doesn’t just potentially weaken your blood vessels, it has also been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, and even rheumatoid arthritis.

    Tooth Infection

    At some point it is likely that you’ll develop an abscess, this is the result of an infection that has got under your tooth. Without treatment, the infection will spread. The most obvious sign is a swollen cheek near the site of the bad tooth. You’ll probably also have tooth sensitivity, toothache, especially when eating, a bitter taste in your mouth, and possibly a fever.

    If this is left untreated the infection can actually spread into your bloodstream. It can quickly develop into something called sepsis. In effect, this is a type of blood poisoning; 

    If you’re old, young, or have a weakened immune system you’re particularly susceptible. You will experience a high fever, your breathing is likely to become difficult, and your heart will race. As the infection worsens you can become mentally disorientated and your skin may appear mottled. 

    You’ll need anti-biotic treatment as if left untreated sepsis can lead to death.

    An abscess can also cause inflammation at the base of your brain. In short, it can cause you to develop meningitis which needs urgent medical treatment or it can also cause death.

    Finally, an abscess can also allow the infection to spread to your throat, causing it to swell. If this happens then your airway can become blocked. You’ll find it hard to breathe, difficult to speak, a fever, feeling weak, and confusion. 

    The short of it? Look after your teeth and have them checked regularly. Dental issues can lead to serious health problems, but they are all preventable.