Although medicine and dentistry have remained separate for many years – separate insurance, separate schools, separate buildings – there is a connection between the health of the mouth and the health of the body.
If you’re missing teeth or your mouth hurts, it can be difficult to eat healthy food like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Infection in your mouth can spread to other parts of your body, and can increase a person’s risk for heart attack or stroke.
If you have diabetes, you may be more at risk for dental problems, and if you have dental problems, it may be harder to control your blood sugar levels.
Some studies have linked periodontal disease to low birth weight and preterm birth. And the bacteria that causes dental decay can be passed from caregiver to child. It is recommended that children have their first dental visit by age 1, but many children do not have their first visit until after age 3.