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When we talk about oral hygiene, we usually think about brushing and flossing our teeth, and perhaps using mouthwash as a supplement. But taking care of your teeth and gums is not just important to your smile, but to your overall health, and the link between your oral health and the rest of your body is much closer than you may realize.

For example, if you have moderate to advanced gum disease, you are at a higher risk of heart disease, since bacteria and infections enter your bloodstream through the mouth and can collect in your heart. Bacteria from gingivitis could enter the brain and cause dementia. Breathing in bacteria from infected teeth and gums could eventually cause respiratory problems.

If you have uncontrolled diabetes, you can fall victim to gum disease, dry mouth, thrush and a burning mouth. An infection in your mouth can have an adverse affect on your blood sugar levels.

Chemotherapy and radiation treatments can create dry mouth and inflamed tissue in your mouth. Some medications can cause dry mouth, gum overgrowth, bleeding problems and discolored teeth.

When you visit your dentist, you should spend some time talking with him about your oral health, and your health in general. Your dentist should know what medications you are taking, and should be familiar with any medical conditions, illnesses or diseases that you have. You should also provide your dentist with the contact information for your physician.

If you have questions or concerns about your oral health, if you need treatment for a dental problem, or if it is just time for your routine dental visit, our dentist, Dr. David Mortvedt will be happy to visit with you. If you live in the Haymarket, Virginia area, you can call 703-754-0727 to schedule an appointment at Haymarket Family & Cosmetic Dentistry.