Mouth-body connection explained by an Atlanta Dental expert Susan Estep, DMD
What is the Mouth-Body connection?
Our body is a system, with all parts interacting with each other. And of course our mouth is interacting with the rest of the body, and the body is interacting with the mouth. Our body is a whole unit, and its parts will interact with each other in amazing two-way communication. But, the way the interactions happen might be a surprise to most of you.
How are the mouth and the body connected?
Now, let us delve deeper into the mouth/body health connection, and get some facts:
There is a mounting body of research showing the mouth-body connection, and the connection between dental health and whole body health. The mouth and the rest of the body are part of one and the same system. The diseases that affect the body, most of the time, affect the mouth as well.
This is one case in which the good ol’ toothbrush cannot be the only savior that prevents everything. Together with our dentists, the toothbrush can indeed become the hero that it’s always been, all over again.
Modern dental health explained:
As western medicine advances, and we are starting to look at the body as one self related system, we realize that if one part of the body is affected by disease, then signs of this malaise would show in other “parts” of the body. Research that shows this relationship between dental health and body health is growing, making it easier for dentists to inform patients of the possibility of other diseases within the body.
There is a profound connection between the mouth and the body, with the body responding almost immediately to what we eat, to take just a quick and easy example. As your preferred Atlanta dentist, we find it easy to explain that good dental care can significantly improve well-being throughout your entire body.
There are many chronic conditions/diseases of the body that directly and profoundly effect dental health, i.e. Diabetes, HIV, Leukemia, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Mouth Cancer, Tongue Cancer…
Out of the plethora of diseases that affect the body, some have a measurable effect on the teeth as well. Let’s take Diabetes for example, a disease with which an estimated 24 million Americans suffer, a disease which is directly linked with gum and periodontal infection, inflammation, and disease.
- Bleeding gums, fungal infections, and cavities are all indicators of problems in the mouth.
- With a diabetic person, uncontrolled sugars cause problems throughout the entire body, including within the mouth.
Gum disease is a serious problem that many people may not even know they have. The Science Daily.com had this story to report: Gum Disease Found to Be Significant Public Health Concern
ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2010) — The prevalence of periodontal disease in the United States may be significantly higher than originally estimated. Research published in the Journal of Dental Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) suggests that the prevalence of periodontal disease may have been underestimated by as much as 50 percent. The implication is that more American adults may suffer from moderate to severe gum disease than previously thought.
The direct impact upon the bones/teeth and gums can be substantial and measurable. Another problem with diabetes is the reduction of the infection-fighting white blood cells that results in an obviously greater risk of infection in the mouth. According to Mike Gault, Senior Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association, Atlanta/Northern Georgia Region, more than one million residents of Georgia have Diabetes, with about 350,000 of them unaware of their condition.
Preventative dental care and a regular visit and consultation with your Atlanta dentist might help with diagnosis and treatment of the effects on the mouth of this disease. Periodontal disease, it is said by many, is the sixth complication of diabetes.
There are a lot more issues to discuss in regards to the relationship between diabetes and good dental health. We will expand on this discussion in other articles.
How is heart disease related to dental disease?
Heart disease, among other illnesses, is an indicator recognizable through the inspection of the mouth. The research shows a high incidence between patients with gum disease and those that require a heart transplant, because of the bacteria found in the mouth.
On top of the association between bacteria associated with periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease, another thing to consider-and there are studies showing this as well-is the correlation between tooth loss and heart disease.
The higher the number of teeth lost, the higher the percentage of heart disease incidents. So, if you’re worried about your heart health: See your dentist! And see them as often as recommended.
How is osteoporosis related to your dental health? Here are 4 ways:
- Osteoporosis weakens the bone structure and since
- Teeth are the hardest ones in the body, but still bone material-osteoporosis can cause tooth loss.
- The detection of osteoporosis can lead to the detection of this tooth weakening and loss.
- Tooth loss can be a sign for osteoporosis in the body, and the loss of teeth can help with early detection of this disease.
Women at risk for dental disease:
Women are at particular risk of periodontal infection because of the fluctuation of hormones, particularly during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause. The hormone fluctuation is such that the teeth, where enamel is thin will tend to either crack or allow for periodontal infection.
Cancer risks and dental disease:
Cancer is a serious disease of the mouth that affects the whole body health. Arguably the worst cancers of the mouth are mouth and tongue cancers. Both are related to a very short life expectancy, therefore early detection is crucial. The testing is painless, but the effects could be life changing. With the high incidence of smokers over 40 year old, the percentage of mouth and tongue cancers has increased tremendously in recent years.
Our dental offices in the metro Atlanta GA, specialize in diagnosing and treating dental problems in a caring and supportive environment. Our patients range in age from adolescent to seniors in their silver years. It is our priority to see to our patients’ every dental need; from fluoride treatments to complete dental makeovers, porcelain veneers, implants and dentures.
Parting thoughts on your dental health:
Give yourself the gift of a dental check up. Preventative care extends life, Your Life!
Preventative dental care is always cheaper and less damaging to the body than heart surgery, dental implants, or emergency care. We look forward to caring for all your dental needs, especially those that will prevent the further development of more serious disease.
Come in for a consultation with our compassionate doctors of the Atlanta Dental Experts. We are here to ensure a healthy mouth-body relationship for all our patients.
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