As you age, you of course want to do all you can to stay healthy. While this usually includes eating a healthy diet and getting as much exercise as possible, you should not overlook your oral health as well. In fact, taking care of your teeth as you get older can play a significant role in how good or bad you may feel in the years ahead. If you're wondering how this can be, here are some crucial ways oral health is linked to your overall health.

Cardiovascular Disease

If you let your oral health fall by the wayside as you age, you may be increasing the chances you will develop cardiovascular disease later on. In fact, such cardiovascular conditions as strokes, clogged arteries, and endocarditis have sometimes been linked to inflammation and infections within the mouth, which then allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream and attach to your heart.

Bone Loss

When you don't take care of your teeth properly over the years, gum disease will set in. Depending on its severity, it could lead to periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease that leads to bone loss. Should this occur, you may find your teeth starting to feel loose or even fall out. If the situation becomes too bad, you may need dental implants to replace lost teeth.

Reduced Risk of Arthritis

When you brush and floss daily over the course of your life, you are lessening the chances you may develop arthritis. This is especially true regarding rheumatoid arthritis, which can become a very debilitating disease as it progresses throughout your hands and other joints.

Tobacco Use

If you use tobacco products of any kind, you are doing a great disservice to your teeth and ultimately your overall health. Whether it is traditional cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or other tobacco products, tobacco use has long been linked to an increased risk of developing gum disease. As a result, the longer you use tobacco during the course of your life, the greater the chances you will develop gum disease, which can then be a factor in the development of other more serious conditions.

Like anything else associated with your health, taking a proactive stance regarding your oral health will pay big dividends in the years ahead. By brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing once per day, and scheduling regular visits with your dentist, you can avoid gum disease, tooth loss, and many other health-related problems.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.