You have probably heard of the mind-body connection, as this is a popular topic. However, have you heard of the mouth-body connection?
Despite what you may think, visiting Exceptional Dentistry often isn’t just about cleaning your teeth or getting a dental filling— it is about your overall health. This is because the health of your mouth can affect the rest of your body.
The Mouth-Body Connection
Since the mouth is so accessible, it can serve as a window to what’s going on internally. It shows early warning signs of many diseases and immune system problems. Also, the cells and saliva in our mouths can be used to analyze and uncover genetic risk factors.
But more importantly, poor oral health can be the source of systemic infections and disease. Associations between chronic oral infections and other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, have been reported.
Oral Health & Diabetes
Oral health and diabetes have a bidirectional relationship, meaning they both affect each other.
It is well established that diabetes can affect the health of your mouth. Those with diabetes often have a hard time fighting off infection, making it difficult to treat gum disease. It’s also typical for diabetics to produce less saliva than normal, making dry mouth and tooth decay other oral health struggles.
On the other side of this relationship, good oral health will help you have better glycemic control and the ability to avoid worsened health complications.
You might already know that systemic inflammation is a precursor to developing diabetes. So it makes sense that periodontal disease (the most common chronic inflammatory condition) would have such an impact.
Because of this, research has been conducted over the last 50 years on periodontal disease and diabetes. According to the Surgeon General’s report, good oral health is an integral part of good overall health.
Simply by treating (or avoiding the development) of periodontal disease, whether as a diabetic or someone who wants to evade diabetes, you will be able to maintain better total body health.
Oral Health & Heart Disease
Studies have shown that people with moderate to severe gum disease have a greater risk for heart disease than people with healthy gums.
This is because oral health and heart disease are linked by the spread of bacteria from your mouth to your body through the blood stream. When harmful bacteria reach your heart, they can attach to a damaged area and cause inflammation.
Since periodontal disease is an active infection, it can contribute to the total amount of infection. This increase in the level of bacteria exposure can increase your risk of buildup inside arteries.
The importance of preventing and treating infections, especially chronic infections such as periodontitis, is paramount in advising and treating patients with coronary heart disease.
Luckily, you can maintain good periodontal health by being seen at the recommended intervals with our hygienist.
Oral Health & Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, then you already know how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure your and your baby’s health. Maintaining periodontal health is equally important.
Reports have shown that periodontal disease increases the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as giving birth to a preterm or low-birthweight baby.
This means that the baby is at risk for long-term health problems such as poor social growth, delayed motor skills, or learning disabilities. And that’s not all. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Other issues associated with preterm birth include respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, or feeding and digestive problems.”
The good news is that non-surgical periodontal therapy is safe for pregnant women, and by seeing a hygienist regularly, you can help ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Who Is at Risk?
Patients with advanced gum disease are at greater risk for overall health conditions. This is particularly the case when periodontal disease is left untreated.
Here at Exceptional Dentistry, we work hard to be proactive in your health, and as such, work closely with other medical professionals to keep you healthy as a whole. We welcome you to contact our dental office in Palmdale, California, at 661.349.7725 today to learn more about the mouth-body connection and to set up your next reservation.