How Your Dental Health Affects Your Vision

February 16, 2023, Blue Turtle Dental Palo Alto Dentists

Your dental health extends beyond your teeth and gums. Dental issues can contribute to vision problems.

As everyone is aware, keeping your teeth and the rest of your mouth healthy requires developing a dental hygiene routine. You might not be aware that these health advantages also have an effect on other parts of your body. Your eyes are one excellent example.

Let’s explore the link between your oral and visual health.

The Relationship Between Good Vision And Dental Hygiene

But is there really a connection between your eyesight and oral health? There’s growing research that proves the link between good dental hygiene practices and improved vision.

Poor oral hygiene can lead to pain, discomfort and even more serious problems in your eyes. Here are some examples of eye problems resulting from poor dental health and hygiene. 

1. Eye Pain and Discomfort

The nerves in your mouth can get irritated by cracked teeth, tooth decay, infection, a dental abscess, and other dental conditions, leading to tooth pain.

Your jaw starts to ache and gets misaligned when you have a toothache. There are nerves that connect your jaw and eyes. So, the tooth nerve pain can radiate to your eyes, causing eye pain and discomfort. Eye pain can be caused by problems with the jaw, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), and teeth grinding.

Since there are numerous potential causes of tooth pain, it's crucial to see your dentist as soon as you begin to feel any discomfort. It is possible to avoid any eye issues caused by dental conditions by identifying and treating the root cause at the earliest.

2. Vision Problems

Poor dental health can cause serious vision problems such as:

Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is a painful inflammation of the tissues surrounding your teeth. Gum diseases occur because of the proliferation of harmful bacteria below the gumline, generally as a result of poor dental hygiene -  improper brushing and flossing techniques.

Gum disease is ususally preceded by a condition called gingivitis, which occurs when leftover food particles build up in the gum tissues and create an environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. Common gingivitis signs and symptoms include gum inflammation, swelling, pain, bleeding and bad breath. If left untreated gingivitis can progress to serious gum disease leading to tooth infection.

The optic nerve, which connects your eye to the brain and is located at the back of your eye, can potentially become infected with bacteria from a tooth or gum infection. The optic nerve is responsible for your vision and any damage to it can cause the degradation of the eye tissue and vision loss.

Bacterial infections in your mouth that quickly spread to your eyes via the blood vessels can lead to a condition called orbital cellulitis or the infection of the tissues of the eye socket. If left untreated, orbital cellulitis can result in severe eye pain, causing vision problems, and even blindness.

3. Glaucoma

There’s increasing research that has connected poor dental health to a higher risk of glaucoma, an eye condition where fluid buildup in the eye damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma is known as the "silent thief of sight" since many don’t not show any symptoms until they begin to lose their vision.

Poor dental hygiene puts you at a higher risk of developing cavities that let harmful bacteria into the sensitive tooth pulp. Broken or cracked teeth can also expose the sensitive tooth pulp. When the sensitive tooth pulp is exposed, the harmful bacteria can cause a painful condition called pulpitis. When it’s diagnosed in the early stages, pulpitis can be reversed. But it can quickly progress into a more severe form necessitating the root canal procedure to save the tooth. If the affected tooth is not treated with the root canal procedure, the harmful bacteria can spread to the eyes and damage the optic nerve, resulting in glaucoma.

There is also open-angle glaucoma, a degenerative eye condition brought on by increased intraocular fluid buildup that puts enormous harmful pressure on the optic nerve. Open-angle glaucoma can result in vision loss and blindness if left untreated. According to a Harvard research study conducted on men, there is a connection between tooth infections and the onset of open-angle glaucoma.

Glaucoma cannot be cured, although it can be managed with medicine and surgery. Early gum disease treatment is essential for avoiding tooth loss and other serious conditions such as glaucoma. Call your Palo Alto dentist immediately if you have gums that are sore, inflamed, receding, or bleeding.

4: Eye problems due to old fillings

Teeth with old amalgam fillings are also among the most common dental issues that affect your eyes.

The traditional amalgam filling comprises mercury, silver, and other metals. Poor dental health and teeth grinding can wear out your amalgam fillings, putting you at higher risk of being exposed to mercury vapor. Long-term exposure to too much mercury vapor can have negative effects on your eyes apart from your kidneys, liver, and brain.

Nowadays, most dentists use composite resin, a safer material, to treat cavities. However, if you have old amalgam fillings, it may be necessary to replace them especially if they are beginning to show indications of wear.

Amalgam fillings are no longer used to treat cavities because of their potential harm to your eyes, causing vision loss.Some vision loss problems associated with mercury fillings include cataract development, color-vision problems, retinitis pigmentosa and iritis.

Our Dental Health Advice For Healthy Eyes And Clear Vision

Sound dental hygiene practices can help you gain better vision. Here is a dental care routine that you can follow to maintain a healthy pair of eyes and set of teeth and gums.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, for two minutes each
  • Flossing once daily
  • Use mouthwash daily to kill harmful bacteria and prevent its spread.
  • Eat a balanced diet, leaning towards whole foods, and less on processed foods that are high in sugars and fats.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking
  • Replace your old amalgam fillings with safer options.
  • Stay on top of your oral health and keep a watch on any problems such as infections, gingivitis, or gum disease and get them treated immediately.
  • Visit your dentist for a checkup once every six months.

Good Dental Hygiene Is The Foundation For 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.

Take good care of your teeth and gums as it encourages healthy eyes and clear vision. Daily dental care habits with timely preventative treatments are your route to a clear vision and a radiant smile.

Contact our Best Dental Care in Palo Alto CA for a dental evaluation.

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