It’s been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul”. Your dentist can use your mouth as a “window” to a view of the health of your entire body. Your mouth can be a “door” as well. Doctors and dentists now agree that many oral health issues will lead to systemic issues if not treated. A health issue that is said to be systemic affects your entire “system” i.e. your body. Also, many health issues can lead to problems with your oral health, despite your best efforts to stick to a regular oral hygiene routine. You can protect yourself by understanding this crucial link between your mouth and your body.
The Mouth-Body Link
Although it is invisible to our eyes, we humans are home to a multitude of living organisms- on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Our mouths are swimming with bacteria, although it is mostly harmless. Practicing regular oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth at least at least twice daily and routine flossing can usually keep these potentially dangerous microbes in check. However, they can sometimes turn minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay into major systemic conditions.
Oral Health and Cardiac Health
A link between endocarditis and infections in the teeth and gums has been identified by doctors. Endocarditis is when an infection from one part of your body such as your mouth, slips into your bloodstream and spreads that infection to the lining of your heart. Endocarditis can cause all kinds of serious medical problems. Research also indicates that the likelihood of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes can all be increased by the bacteria from oral health issues. Additionally, doctors have discovered a link between the preterm birth of children and poor oral health in mothers.
Oral Health Symptoms
Conversely, studies show that 90% of systemic medical conditions in some way reveal themselves in our mouths. The prevalence of gum disease among those with uncontrolled diabetes and can be an indicator that their diabetes may be seriously out of control. Lesions in the mouth can be an indicator of autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Lost teeth may be due to osteoporosis, a disease which causes weak and brittle bones. A decline in oral health can also be a clue to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
How to Protect Your Oral Health
So how can you protect your oral health? Dr. Poorva Parnaik recommends a regular oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the infection-causing plaque. Hydration is also necessary for good oral health 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. A healthy diet with minimal foods with added sugar is also important.
Most important of all, you should schedule regular appointments with Dr. Parnaik to treat small issues before they become serious ones. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with Dr. Parnaik at Dental Creations today call 609.365.0673 or schedule an appointment online.