Your Mouth and Body: How are they connected?

Your Mouth and Body: How are they connected?

by Yenny (SU)

Your Mouth and Body: How are they connected? When most people think of the mouth-body connection, they think of the dieting phrase “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” But there is more to the mouth-body connection than having another piece of pie and regretting it later on. The mouth-body connection has less to do with weight control and more to do with your overall health. In fact, your oral health can serve as a good indicator as to the state of your well-being and can even provide clues as to certain medical conditions and diseases you just may not know you have.  

The Enemy at the Gates

The mouth is the gateway to the body, and one of the quickest ways for an invader such as bacteria or a virus to enter is through a compromised area of the mouth. Remember, there is no gravitational pull keeping your teeth secured to the gum; rather there is a sort of gasket that surrounds the tooth, adhering it to the gum to keep it safe. Our immune system protects us from illnesses and infections. When that gasket breaks or is compromised, we run the risk of infections entering the bloodstream and making their way throughout the body. One way to keep your mouth healthy is to make sure you eat properly, rest, take your vitamins and supplements, and try your best to avoid stressors you can control. Flossing is essential as it can strengthen and “reseal” that gasket, keeping infections at bay while promoting healthy teeth and gums.

Medications

Certain medications that we take can affect our oral health. For example, asthma inhalers can cause thrush – which is basically a yeast infection in your mouth; this can be prevented by rinsing your mouth with water immediately after inhaling. Chemotherapy can leave your mouth dry and with sores. Tetracycline is one anti-biotic that can leave your teeth discolored, while other anti-biotics such as Biaxin can leave a horrible taste in your mouth. Be cautious as some medications will increase your risk of decay, leaving you vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

Heart Disease and Oral Heath

It is no coincidence that 91% of patients with heart disease have periodontitis, compared to 66% of people with no heart disease. That’s because oral inflammation affects the blood vessels, and when blood vessels become inflamed, they reduce the space that blood can travel to the heart and the rest of the body. This increases stress on the heart, as well as raises blood pressure. Plus, it increases the plaque found on the blood vessel wall, increasing the risk of stroke.  

Disease

When bacteria enter your bloodstream, the body reacts by raising its temperature and producing an inflammatory reaction. Gum disease only makes it worse leaving you vulnerable to disease. Just a few of the conditions that can be caused or complicated by oral infections or gum disease include:

·      Breast, prostate, and other cancers

·      Diabetes

·      Dementia

·      Osteoporosis

·      Rheumatoid Arthritis and other auto-immune diseases

·      Cardiovascular disease, to include heart attack, stroke, and thickening of the arteries

·      Irritable bowel syndrome

·      Pneumonia

The Oral Health + Pregnancy Connection

Studies have concluded that babies born premature or with low birth weight often have significant health problems when they grow older. Infection and inflammation can interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb, and poor oral health can significantly increase that risk.

Preventive medicine and good oral hygiene habits are proven to dramatically reduce your risk of infection, disease, and inflammation.Dr. Ari Binder and the friendly staff of 360 Dental Group in Eugene, Oregon are committed to your overall health and your mouth-body connection. If you would like to learn more about our dentistry practice and make an appointment, call (541) 689-1645 today. There are many forms of cosmetic and restorative dentistry that can give you the teeth and smile you have always wanted.