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Keeping an Eye on Your Oral Health

Dental and vision connection

Did you know that keeping an eye on your oral health may also benefit your eye health? Some studies suggest there is a connection between the two. In fact, The American Academy of Ophthalmology found that oral infections, especially those associated with periodontal disease (dental disease), may trigger an inflammatory response that spreads to the optic nerve causing damage. Although in its early stages, this research suggests that poor oral health may also affect eye health.

What is the connection between the teeth and eyes?

Periodontal diseases are primarily the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Research suggests the oral bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontal disease may play a role in many systematic conditions, including eye diseases. Other studies have linked periodontal disease to systematic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Protecting your eyes and oral health

A lack of proper dental care, including brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist, can result in decay and tooth loss, leading to periodontal disease. This may have an impact on both your dental health and visual health and could lead to numerous other systematic conditions.

Taking care of your teeth and eyes is an investment in your overall health. Regular vision screenings and visits to the dentist can help allow for the early detection of many diseases. Early detection and treatment are critical in decreasing the risk of eye diseases and preventing vision loss and blindness.

How to protect your oral health

  • Practice good oral hygiene daily by brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush using fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily
  • Use mouthwash to help remove food particles left after brushing
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are worn
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises

How to protect your eye health

  • Get regular eye exams
  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Get regular exercise and try to maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Protect your eyes by using sunglasses that block out 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Know your family’s medical history

Given the connection, keeping an eye on your dental and visual health is essential for wellness and disease prevention. By taking these steps, you can help improve your overall health and quality of life for years to come.

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