Oral Health Connections Reach Far Beyond The Mouth

added on: February 9, 2016

Having a clean, healthy mouth is a good way to have fresh breath, avoid cavities and prevent periodontal (gum) disease. But, did you know that the health of your mouth can affect your health in other parts of your body?

Over the years, numerous studies and much research has been conducted to pinpoint the true origins of diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes and others. While there is still much to be known, what has emerged time and again as the culprit has been inflammation.

Inflammation in the body has been determined to cause triggers that become the onset of a wide variety of health problems. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease. This means that the bacteria that are attacking your tooth enamel and gum tissues will run rampant on a consistent basis. As destructive as these bacteria are to your mouth, they can also have damaging potential elsewhere.

When the bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream (through tears in weakened gum tissues), it can create inflammatory triggers. This, in turn, results in higher risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm babies, arthritis, respiratory diseases and even impotency. By why?

First, let me clarify that not all inflammation is bad. For example, when you cut your finger, the body sends antibodies to help repair the cut. The redness or slight swelling you see as the cut heals is a sign that the body’s defense system is fighting off bacteria that could create infection.

In chronic inflammation, however, the body’s defense mechanism becomes locked in the ‘on’ position. This sets into motion a chain of reactions that turn what was designed to be a positive response into a negative one. An area in the body that stays in the inflamed mode is at risk for dysfunctional reactions.

While the bacteria of gum disease seem a long distance from arthritic joints, the association – according to research – boils down to inflammation.  Think of it this way, if you have pink eye, the condition can be easily transferred from one person to another through touch. So, if oral bacteria of gum disease enter the bloodstream and pass through the heart, it makes sense that the inflammatory reactions  of the bacteria can trigger inflammatory reactions here, too.

An attractive, confident smile is important. However, it’s important, also, that you consider the overall health of your mouth — teeth AND gums — as being vital elements of a smile’s well-being. Keeping a clean, healthy mouth can enhance your overall  health and help you avoid (or greatly lower) the risk for severe and even deadly diseases.

If you feel your mouth needs a ‘clean slate’ so you can maintain a healthy smile, call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule an exam. Or, consider beginning with a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals.

And, if dental fear has kept you from the care you need, feel free to mention your concerns. We are especially sensitive to those with these fears and take a number of measures to ensure your comfort at all times.


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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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