Oral Health & Overall Health

A collaboration between Columbia University College of Dental Medicine—one of the nation’s top dental schools—and Aetna, Simple Steps To Better Dental Health® is a comprehensive dental information website.

The mouth-body connection

You may have heard of the mind-body connection, but what about the mouth-body connection? To many people, a dental visit is about getting their teeth cleaned, having a tooth pulled or getting a filling. However, a dental visit is not just about teeth. It is also about your overall health. What goes on in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. What goes on in your body also can have an effect on your mouth.

A healthier mouth can help you have a healthier life

Did you know:

  • If you have gum disease, you are more likely to become diabetic.
  • People who already have diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with gum disease. Having gum disease can make your blood sugar harder to control.
  • People with gum disease may be more likely to have heart attacks or strokes.
  • Poor oral health – untreated tooth decay, missing teeth, gum disease – can lead to unhealthy diet choices. And a poor diet can increase your risk for infection and illness.
  • Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have a preterm (premature) birth, compared with women who have healthy gums.
  • Pregnant women who care for their mouths – by having cavities taken care of and by brushing and flossing regularly – are less likely to pass on cavity-causing bacteria to their babies.

Learn more about diabetes and your mouth

Read about pregnancy and oral health


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