The Connection Between Good Dental Hygiene and Good Vision
As everyone knows, establishing a healthy dental hygiene regimen keeps your teeth and the rest of your mouth happy. What you might not know is that those health benefits can also impact other parts of your body. One prime example is your eyes. That’s right—unhealthy teeth and gums can cause discomfort and other issues in your eyes. And there is also a definite correlation between tooth pain and eye pain. Here’s some more information on the connection between mouth and eye health.
Eye Problems Caused by Bad Dental Health
When you stop and think about it, everything in your body is connected by blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues. A health issue in your mouth can trigger infections, pain, and even more serious issues in other parts of your body, including your eyes. Tooth pain can be linked to eye pain, vision issues, and possibly even serious eye diseases like glaucoma.
Can a toothache cause eye pain? It certainly can, and here’s why. When you have a toothache—either from an infection, a dental abscess, or a damaged tooth—your jaw aches and becomes misaligned.
The jaw and eyes are connected by nerves. When the jaw is out of alignment, this sensation travels through your nerves to your eyes, causing them to feel pain as well. Jaw issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and teeth grinding often lead to eye pain.
The same infections that cause eye pain can also affect your vision. Bacterial infections can easily spread from your mouth to other parts of your body—such as your eyes—through your blood vessels. If the tissues of the eye socket get infected, this causes a condition called orbital cellulitis. Left untreated, orbital cellulitis causes a lot of pain in the eye area and can even cause vision issues or blindness.
Bacteria from a tooth or gum infection can also damage the optic nerve. Located at the back of the eye, the optic nerve connects the eye to the brain and is what allows you to see. Any damage to the optic nerve can have a profound impact on your vision.
Sometimes people ask us, “Can dental work affect your eyes?” Because the nerves in your mouth are connected to the nerves in your eyes, there have been instances where the local anesthesia for a dental procedure causes a side effect of double vision. However, these cases are very rare, and the double vision usually wears off along with the anesthesia.
Glaucoma and Gum Disease
Recent studies have linked poor dental health with an increased risk for glaucoma—an eye condition where the optic nerve becomes damaged due to fluid buildup in the eye. Doctors call glaucoma the “silent thief of sight” because most people will not experience any symptoms until they start to lose their eyesight. While there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be controlled through medication and surgery.
How can I keep my mouth and eyes healthy?
The best way to keep your teeth and eyes healthy is by following a consistent dental health regimen! This includes:
- Visiting your dentist for a professional dental cleaning every six months
- Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
- Using a mouthwash daily to keep germs away
- Sticking to a healthy diet high in natural, whole foods and low in sugars and processed foods
- Limiting alcohol and quitting smoking
- Keeping an eye out for signs of any dental issues like infections and seeking treatment immediately
A Healthy Mouth = Healthy Eyes
There is no denying there is a direct link between tooth and eye pain. Adhering to healthy dental hygiene practices can help you see clearly and smile brightly for the rest of your life. If you have any questions about the connection between dental health and vision, call Sunrise Dental for an appointment today at 623-487-4870.
Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash