Dental health and whole body health are connected. Research indicates this link, noting that what happens in the mouth impacts what goes on in the rest of the body, and what happens throughout the body impacts oral health too.
These indications lead dental professionals to two conclusions:
- Reducing periodontal disease has a positive effect when it comes to helping individuals avoid heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory disease and even cancer.
- When diagnosed with medical conditions, individuals must share this information with their dentists as the diagnosis can help dictate appropriate and beneficial oral health care.
How Oral Health Impacts Systemic Health
According to several scientific studies, oral health impacts systemic health in three ways. First, when high amounts of harmful bacteria are present in the gums, this bacteria enters the saliva and is inhaled into the lungs every time an individual breathes. This sometimes increases susceptibility to pulmonary illnesses especially in the elderly or those who are immunocompromised. Second, this same bacteria can enter the circulatory system directly through the gums. The bacteria can then cause secondary infections throughout the body including in the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. Finally, the inflammation associated with periodontal disease can cause a secondary inflammatory response in the body and contribute to the development or progression of diseases that have an inflammatory origin such as heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.
Abnormal Bacteria Levels in the Mouth and Regular Dental Exams
While oral bacteria does accumulate even around the gums and teeth in healthy mouths, abnormal levels of bacteria are believed to be primary contributors to many systemic health concerns and diagnoses. A good routine for home oral health care and regular visits to the dentist are the most effective methods for controlling these bacteria levels and reducing instances of periodontal disease.
In addition to offering examinations, cleaning and preventative care, trained dental professionals are able to recognize changes within the oral cavity including sore or bleeding gums, loose or shifting teeth or a foul taste or smell in the mouth. When these conditions are noted, in addition to treating them, the dentist can make recommendations for further evaluations by general practitioners or medical specialists. This early detection provides patients with valuable information that can help them to get the proper diagnosis for medical conditions. It often assists with better health management and improved opportunities for preventative care and treatment.
Every patient is unique, and the way in which their body responds to risk factors associated with oral health and systemic health will vary. This is why the Oso Marguerite Dental team performs a thorough examination twice a year, or more often if indicated, for each patient. Once we better understand your unique health conditions and needs, we can best develop a customized plan of care, helping you to most effectively maintain optimum oral health and systemic health too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is oral-systemic health?
It is the link between oral health and overall health. Basically, the health of the mouth impacts the health of other systems within the body including your heart, lungs, circulatory system and brain.
Is gum disease the only oral health concern related to my overall health?
No, oral cancer, TMJ and sleep apnea also impact other systems in your body. Unchecked, a cavity or lost tooth can also cause an infection that might spread throughout the body and cause or contribute to health problems. These links are part of the reason why it is important to visit Oso Marguerite Dental regularly and maintain good oral health habits.
What steps can I take at home to protect the health of my mouth, teeth and gums?
Make it a point to brush and floss daily to maintain good oral health. Some individuals might also benefit from using an antibacterial mouthwash as part of their oral healthcare routine. Discuss this with the professionals at Oso Marguerite Dental to see if it is the right choice for you. Additionally, maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and avoid tobacco products or excessive consumption of alcohol.
Is there anything else I should do to protect my oral health?
Yes, contact Oso Marguerite Dental to schedule a checkup. Visiting our office every six months or as directed is the best way to maintain good oral health habits and discover any concerns in the earliest stages. This simplifies treatment and helps ensure your mouth remains healthy.