The Amazing Mouth-Body Connection
The world of dentistry is vaster and more diverse than many people might think. While most people think about fillings and routine appointments, your dental health is intricately connected to your systemic health, and plays a large role in your overall well-being. In fact, new research is emerging every day showing how the mouth and body are connected. Here we will take a look at some of the systemic issues research is showing is impacted by our oral health.
Most of the research connecting the mouth and body point to gum disease as the primary concern. Gum disease is a progressive disease where bacteria infect the gums below the gumline. Signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen gums
- Red or purple gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Infection (pus in the gums or between the teeth)
- Loose teeth
- Painful chewing
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Receding gums
The beginning stages of gum disease are common, and can be treated with good oral hygiene. However, if the disease progresses, not only can you lose teeth and important bone structure, the bacteria in the mouth has been connected to serious systemic conditions, some of which are mentioned below.
Research is being conducted that is exploring the connection between pathogens present in the mouth and markers of rheumatoid arthritis. One study says the oral health parameters of gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis activity are showing an association between the two.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, scientists believe the inflammation caused by gum disease has a strong association with heart disease. They also report that patients with periodontal disease may exacerbate heart problems they already have.
Diabetes and gum disease have an interesting connection. People with Diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease since having diabetes puts you at greater risk for infection in general. And, if you have severe diabetes, gum disease can cause an increase in blood sugar, leading to complications.
Researchers found that men with gum disease were:
49% more likely to develop kidney cancer
54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and
30% more likely to develop blood cancers.
What You Can Do to Prevent Gum Disease
The most important things you can do to keep gum disease at bay is to continue your daily home healthcare routine. This means brushing twice a day and flossing. In addition to good oral hygiene, seeing your dentist regularly ensures we can see and treat any early signs of gum disease before major issues arise. Our talented hygiene team can’t wait to meet you. Feel free to give us a call and schedule your appointment today!