The Mouth-Body Connection
Patient education is something we hold in high regard at Scholes Periodontics and Implants. We realize that the more you know about your dental health, the more likely you are to take great care of your teeth.
When taking your oral health into consideration, it is important to also consider the direct, and often intense influence it has on your overall general health. The health of the teeth and gums are known as the window to your overall health.
Oral Health – the Window to Overall Health
It is a safe bet that if your teeth or gums are in bad shape, there is at least another part of the body that is feeling those affects in a negative way. The mouth is full of bacteria and is constantly being exposed in a very familiar way to new and potentially dangerous things. Once something is chewed it has already undergone the first step in the digestive process and is ready to enter the rest of your digestive tract.
With proper oral health habits and maintenance, your mouth will usually have no problem keeping the numbers of harmful bacteria to acceptable levels. The body's natural defense system is adept at keeping these bacteria under control. The issue arises with the unnatural amount of sugars that we now consume every day. With all those extra sugars, your teeth need extra help in the fight against bad oral bacteria. Brushing twice a day (after breakfast and dinner) and flossing at least once a day does a great job of washing away the harmful bacteria from your teeth and gums.
When you allow these bacteria to build up over a long period of time, they can start to work against your oral and overall health. Imagine your gums—they are composed of a very soft, constantly wet, tissue that has a massive structure of tiny blood vessels very close to the surface. They are a very thin membrane that separates your blood flow from all the potential dangers of these harmful bacteria that can build up in the mouth.
Your gums, like the membranes that cover your nasal cavities, are an extremely thin passageway into the bloodstream. Substances can be transmitted into the bloodstream with ease from the gums. This is why disease can easily be spread to the rest of your body from the gums. Your blood circulates through your gums, picks up whatever is present, and goes on to circulate through the rest of your body.
Health Conditions That Can Arise or Be Made Worse Due to Poor Dental Health
There are quite a few conditions that are known to stem from, or be affected by, poor oral and gingival health including the following:
If you have suffered damage to your heart in the past, that usually means that some of your heart tissue is either damaged or is scar tissue. These damaged tissues are susceptible to infection from impurities in the blood, exactly the kind of impurities that poor oral health can introduce.
Pregnancy and Birth
There are many studies linking premature birth and low birth weight to advanced gum disease. It is critical to maintain a healthy mouth during pregnancy.
When a person has diabetes their body is at a higher risk of infection because diabetes acts on the immune system. If you have diabetes, taking care of your teeth is critical to your overall health as infections are easily picked up and spread with a low immune system.
Osteoporosis is a disease where the quality and quantity of your bone mass greatly deteriorates. When you are affected by periodontal disease, where the bone is often at risk of recession and add a disease that directly, negatively impacts bone levels, it's a recipe for disaster. Oral health should be a top priority to someone with a disease such as osteoporosis.
A connection has been shown between people who lose teeth before the age of 35 and those who end up developing Alzheimer's.
As with diabetes, HIV/AIDS are diseases that drastically reduce your immune system's ability to cope with infection and disease. The added risk of poor oral health is not a welcome risk.
Lots of medical research suggests that there is a strong link between heart disease, clogged arteries, and inflammation or infection of the oral tissues. These symptoms can lead to heart attack or stroke.
How can I protect my oral health?
The best way to prevent poor oral health from gripping your mouth is to maintain regular oral health habits. It's simple and easy to do. Just brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. It also helps to limit the amount of sugar-rich foods that you consume.
Rinsing your mouth out with water after meals does quite a bit to wash away the bacteria that causes plaque and tartar. Rinsing with water also does a good job of washing away larger food particles that can get stuck between teeth during meals.
Don't forget to replace your toothbrush every couple of months. If you have a toothbrush with frayed bristles, your toothbrush needs to be thrown out! Germs and bacteria love to hang out in damaged bristles.
Lastly, give us a call today at (602) 900-1609 to schedule a cleaning and exam! Don't forget regular dental checkups!
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