Why Not Replacing Missing Teeth is Bad for Your Health

replacement teeth, sac dentist, sacramento, california, dr. michael hinh

According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health is a window to your overall health and wellness. Most people aren’t aware of how important it is to maintain a healthy mouth in relation to their general health.

At Sac Dentist in Sacramento, California, Dr. Michael Hinh and our dedicated dental team focus on educating patients about the significance of maintaining optimal oral health. Here’s what you need to know about why not replacing missing teeth is bad for your health.

The connection between your mouth and your overall health

As you may or may not have heard before, your mouth is full of bacteria. Don’t be alarmed though. Most of them, like the ones that live in many areas of your body, are harmless, or they have a job to do that benefits your health.

However, if you don’t keep those bacteria under control through proper daily brushing and flossing techniques, the bacteria can quickly multiply. If this happens, they can reach an unhealthy level that leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Of course, that affects your oral health, but did you know it can also lead to increased instances of systemic diseases, too?

This is especially concerning if your body’s immune system has a low resistance to infection. If you already have existing health conditions, like diabetes, osteoporosis, or HIV/AIDS, you can become more susceptible to infections that begin with the bacteria in your mouth.

Some serious health conditions are linked to your oral health

There’s strong evidence that poor oral health contributes to diseases that affect your heart. For example, endocarditis is a condition that occurs when bacteria from another part of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to the inner lining of your heart, the endocardium. When the bacteria in your mouth are out of control to the point in which you have gum disease, or periodontitis, it may lead to endocarditis.  

Additionally, medical research suggests that clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke could be linked to the inflammation and infections that come from oral bacteria. So when you maintain excellent oral hygiene, you’re also potentially helping to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. When you have missing teeth, though, it’s nearly impossible to maintain excellent oral hygiene.

Perhaps most surprisingly, is the connection between your oral health and your unborn baby. If you’re pregnant and you have gum disease, there’s a chance your baby will be born prematurely and have a lower birth weight than normal.

The medical community also speculates that the state of your mouth may be linked to diseases and conditions such as:

You may never have thought that you’re making such a positive contribution toward your overall health simply by brushing and flossing your teeth each day, but clearly the benefits go beyond maintaining a beautiful smile. When you have one or more missing teeth, maintaining your best oral health quickly becomes a challenge.

Why replacing missing teeth is so important to your health

Now that you’re aware of all the ways your oral health affects your overall health, what do missing teeth have to do with it? A missing tooth can increase your risk for developing gum disease and oral infections, since the space creates a breeding ground in which bacteria accumulate.

Over time, the missing tooth also leads to bone loss in your jaw, which causes your gums to recede. As this happens, it can weaken the teeth on either side of the space and lead to plaque buildup on those teeth, as well as in the space your tooth once occupied.

If the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth begin to shift into the gap, as they often do, you end up with crooked or crowded teeth that are harder to keep clean than straight, properly aligned teeth. Teeth that are harder to clean between lead to cavities -- and sometimes even gum disease and all the potential health problems that can occur along with it.

Finally, a large gap in your teeth prevents you from chewing and biting correctly. And while this may seem like a simple inconvenience, it’s much more than that. Over time, you can wear down the surfaces of your teeth as a result of an improper bite. Worn tooth surfaces are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay, so you run the risk of bacteria buildup once again.

We haven’t even mentioned the many cosmetic reasons for replacing missing teeth, but that’s also a factor in your overall health and well-being. If you’ve been putting off replacing a missing tooth, you owe it to yourself to take action. That new dental implant or bridge could actually help you live a longer, healthier life.

Schedule a consultation with us to find out about your tooth replacement options. Call our friendly office team today or use the online booking feature on this website.

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