I admit it.

I’m behind on my dental cleaning this year.

What with last year’s challenges of getting medical and dental appointments in general as we were all figuring out how to safely navigate the pandemic and lockdown, I’ve got a great excuse. But that was then, and this is now; we’ve got some socially distant and safety chops to our credit, and it’s now time to take care of those chompers!

I know when I think about my pearly (okay, rather coffee-weathered) whites, I tend to think about wanting to maintain my smile and keep yellowing tartar and stains at bay. But did you know that your dental health can be a powerful indicator of your overall health? It’s true.

The Mayo Clinic writes that these health conditions can start with poor dental health:

  • Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Pneumonia. Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.1

And then there are those conditions that can impact your dental health, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV / AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s often found that patients dealing with those health issues experience declining dental health as a result.

It also fascinated me to discover that certain medications can take a toll on oral health as well. If you’re taking antihistamines, antidepressants, painkillers, decongestants, or others, your dental health can be impacted, so you’ll want to make sure your dentist knows about your prescriptions.

As you’re putting all those fun spring activities on the calendar like organization projects and adventures in the beautiful weather, be sure to add that all-important spring dental cleaning on the schedule.

And remember that on certain memberships, Altrua HealthShare has fantastic dental discounts for our Members through Careington.
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Julie Lyles Carr is a best-selling author, podcaster, and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas, with her husband Mike Carr. They have eight kids, two unfriendly cats, and an antique dachshund.