The saying goes that “eyes are the window to the soul”. However, to your dentist, your mouth can be a “window” to a view of the health of your entire body. It can be a “door” as well. Many oral health issues will lead to systemic issues if not treated. A health issue that is considered systemic is an issue that affects your entire “system” i.e. your body. Conversely, many health issues can cause problems in your oral health, even in spite of your best efforts to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine. Protect yourself by learning more about this crucial link between your mouth and your body. It could just save your life.
Although it cannot be observed with the naked eye, we are the ecosystem for a multitude of living organisms on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Our mouths are alive with bacteria. Most of this bacteria is harmless. Practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and daily flossing can usually keep these microorganisms in check. However, these bacteria in our mouths can sometimes turn minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay into major systemic conditions.
A link between endocarditis and infections in the teeth and gums has been determined by doctors. Endocarditis occurs when an infection from one part of your body such as your mouth, slips into your bloodstream and spreads to the lining of your heart. This can cause all kinds of serious medical problems. Research also shows that the likelihood of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes can all be increased by the bacteria from oral health issues. In addition, doctors have found a link between poor oral health in mothers and the preterm birth of their children.
Alternately, research shows that 90% of systemic medical conditions reveal themselves in our mouths in some way. The prevalence of gum disease among those with uncontrolled diabetes and can be an indicator that an appointment with a doctor for further tests may be in order to bring this serious health condition under control. Lesions in the mouth can be a sign of autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Lost teeth may be the result osteoporosis, a disease which causes bones to become weak and brittle. The onset of Alzheimer’s can also be observed by the decline of oral health.
You might be asking: how can I protect my oral health? Dr. Moses advises a regular oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and feeds the bacteria. Keeping properly hydrated is also vital as saliva washes away excess food that can form plaque and also neutralizes some of the acids from foods we eat that weaken tooth enamel, leading to infections. Choosing healthier foods without added sugar is also important.
Most importantly, you should schedule regular appointments with Dr. Moses to treat small issues before they become serious ones. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with Dr. Moses at Bayside Implant & General Dentistry today call 757.264.6361 or schedule an appointment online.