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The Connection Between Gum Disease and Glaucoma

Increased Risks of Glaucoma Connected to Oral Health Issues

Your mouth can oftentimes serve as a window to the rest of your body — and conditions that affect your teeth and gums can therefore eventually affect your overall health.

Glaucoma is a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve in your eyes and that affects nearly 3 million Americans — and new research shows that its progression may be caused by poor oral conditions.

How Gum Disease Affects Your Overall Health

During a study of over 40,000 individuals, it was found that the bacteria that forms due to gum disease has been linked to increased cases of glaucoma. How? Most doctors posit that local infections that form when our gums become irritated cause bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to the eyes. From there, your eyes trigger an inflammatory response that is thought to lead to the development of glaucoma.

Advanced Gum Disease

Also known as gingivitis, gum disease can worsen over time. Gingivitis leads to periodontitis, or periodontal disease, which includes bone loss around the teeth. This advanced condition may also result in tooth loss in extreme cases, which can also cause bacteria to spread. The condition has also been linked to cases of diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, dementia, and strokes.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is easily prevented through proper dental hygiene. If your dentist makes you aware of the early stages of gum disease, it’s even more crucial to keep up with this routine to prevent any additional inflammation.

Glaucoma causes increased blood pressure within the eyes and can cause partial or total blindness in its most extreme form. This is why prevention and preservation are important. Some measures you can take to improve your oral health and prevent gingivitis from forming include:

Brushing Your Teeth

You should brush your teeth at least 2-3 times a day or after each meal. Additionally, be sure to brush each section of your teeth in small circular motions. This will help to remove the most plaque from your teeth and prevent gingivitis.

Remembering to Floss

While flossing your teeth seems like such a small action, most patients do not regularly floss. Flossing at least once daily can help stimulate your gums, fight plaque, and reduce inflammation.

Though flossing may be difficult at first for a patient, it will get easier over time as your gums become less sensitive. If traditional floss isn’t getting the job done for you, consider investing in a WaterPik.

Using a Fluoride Toothpaste

Be sure to choose a toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride and has the ADA Seal of Approval. These products are proven to support good oral health, and fluoride has been proven to fight against tooth decay.

Drinking Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water is not only good for your overall health but your oral health as well. Drinking water with every meal helps prevent sticky, starchy, and acidic foods from clinging to your mouth. As a rule of thumb, try committing to drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water per day.

Eating a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Consuming plenty of vegetables and fruits is the best way to ensure that you’re taking in the necessary nutrients and vitamins you need. Crunchy produce full of fiber and vitamins helps support a healthy smile and can even act as natural floss — so get to munching!

Seeing Your Dentist Regularly

As we mentioned before, just seeing your dentist is not enough to keep your smile healthy year-round. Your own daily habits are crucial to the health of your teeth. However, even those who floss regularly require routine checkups and cleanings. As a general rule of thumb, be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year, or more depending on your insurance coverage.

Book Your Next Appointment at Sterling Dental Center Today

50% of patients with glaucoma experience no symptoms at all — which is why visiting your primary care physician, your eye doctor, and your dentist is so important.

At Sterling Dental Center, we go beyond patient expectations. From timely, skilled service to our compassionate and empathetic staff, we’re dedicated to what we do and are committed to excellent service. Contact us today to book your next appointment: (318) 374-1411