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Your oral health is tied to the health of your entire body.

Have you ever paused to marvel at how complex and interconnected every aspect of the human body is? Each system in our body, no matter how unrelated it seems, is connected to the other. Even your skeletal system and urinary system rely on each other to perform certain jobs! While it’s easy to think of your mouth as completely separate from the rest of your body, it’s just as connected to the complicated web of systems that help your body function. As a result, your oral health can have a very real negative or positive impact on your overall health. This means that Dr. Harrison can actively help you become healthier as a whole! Here are 5 ways your dentist can help you improve your health.

1. Your dentist can treat sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This is because your tongue or the cartilage in your throat relaxes too much, obstructing your airway. Sleep apnea not only causes snoring that’s likely to wake your partner—or yourself—up, but it often causes chronic fatigue and irritability during the day. It can also lead to larger health problems like diabetes, digestive issues, and problems with your circulatory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. As a result, it’s very important to get treated for sleep apnea—but not everyone wants or responds well to treatments like a CPAP machine or surgery.

If you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, this is where Dr. Harrison can step in. She can create a customized orthotic for you to wear to sleep at night. This mouthguard holds your jaw in the ideal position to keep your airway open throughout the night. It’s also designed with comfort in mind—ensuring that you’re able to fall asleep quickly and stay comfortable throughout the entire night. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and you’ll help reduce the risk factors for additional health issues that sleep apnea often raises.

2. They enable you to eat healthier.

When you’re suffering from issues like a toothache, tooth sensitivity, missing teeth, or ill-fitting dentures, eating normal food can be difficult; you may even find yourself sticking to soft, easy-to-chew foods, and that often rules out a lot of healthy foods. Dr. Harrison will ensure your teeth are healthy, treat any oral health issues you’re suffering from, and provide you with high-quality restorations at our office when you need them. This renews the functionality of your teeth, allowing you to eat all your favorite foods without worrying, from chewy steak to crunchy apples. You can even enjoy the occasional sweet, crunchy treat like toffee!

3. They help you detect oral cancer early.

Visiting the dentist for a preventive dental cleaning every six months is essential to prevent or catch issues like periodontitis and cavities. It is also essential to help you catch oral cancer early. During your appointment, Dr. Harrison doesn’t just clean your teeth and check for cavities, she also performs an oral cancer screening. During the screening, she looks out for potential signs of the disease. Catching oral cancer early is essential to beating it, so keeping up with your dental appointments can literally save your life!

4. Your dentist helps protect you from respiratory illnesses.

If you’re suffering from poor oral health, such as severe periodontitis, you can actually inhale oral bacteria. These bacteria make it into your lungs. There they can cause problems by increasing the likelihood that you’ll catch a respiratory illness like pneumonia. By taking great care of your oral health at home and visiting Dr. Harrison regularly so that she can catch issues like gum disease and cavities early, you can keep the number of bacteria in your mouth under control, helping to protect you from these types of illnesses.

5. They reduce your risks of suffering from health issues like strokes or cardiovascular disease.

Periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease where oral bacteria make it beneath your gum line, is a serious oral health concern—but it’s also a concern for your overall health. Once they make it beneath your gum line, oral bacteria can make their way into your bloodstream, causing a wide range of health issues throughout your body.

Periodontitis can worsen existing health issues like diabetes because it makes it harder to control your blood sugar, and it can spark infections in other parts of your body. If you’re pregnant, periodontitis can even pose a risk to your baby. It can increase your chances of giving birth prematurely or having a low-birth-weight baby, which can have a lasting impact on your little one’s health. Additionally, periodontitis poses risks to your long-term health by increasing your likelihood of suffering from cardiovascular disease or a stroke. Oral bacteria have even been found inside the blood clots of stroke patients. All of these factors mean that staying on top of your oral health and visiting Dr. Harrison regularly are important.  These steps to prevent or treat gum disease can help you live a healthier, longer life by reducing your chances of suffering from these complications.

While it may sound strange that your dentist can help improve your overall health, it’s very true. Every part of your body is connected, sometimes impacting other parts in surprising ways. At Millennium Dental, we’re ideally equipped to keep an eye on the connected elements of your oral and overall health; the average dentist doesn’t have access to the cutting-edge technology we use to prevent, diagnose, or treat issues like sleep apnea or oral cancer. This allows us to keep you healthier, happier, and safer than ever before. When you’re ready to start your oral care journey, give us a call or use our online appointment form.