It's All Connected - The Link Between Body and Mouth
posted: Jan. 04, 2019.
Did you know that what happens in your mouth effect other areas of our body and overall health? Its true. Your oral health and the condition of your teeth and gums can impact your entire health.
How is this possible? Great question. Just like studies are now proving that your gut bacteria affect your health, the mouth’s bacteria do too. Bacteria in your mouth? Oh, yeah- tons of them! Most of these bacteria are pretty harmless, as our body’s normal defenses, combined with good oral health care (daily brushing in flossing), keep them under control. However, if a person does not have good oral hygiene, the bacteria may be allowed to reach levels high enough to produce oral infections, tooth decay and gum disease.
How does tooth decay or gum disease impact your entire body? Studies suggest that oral bacteria, and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, might actually play a role in some diseases.
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It typically occurs with bacteria and other germs from another part of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart. You guessed it. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream and go to your heart.
-Cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are now believed to be linked to inflammation and infections that can be caused by oral bacteria.
-Poor oral health leading to periodontitis during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
The connection between oral health and your overall health goes both ways. Just as your oral health can cause problems for your overall health, health issues in your body can affect the health of your mouth.
Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants and some inhalers, can reduce saliva flow. Since saliva is your body’s natural defense and method for washing away food and bacteria and neutralizing acids in the mouth, this can impact the amounts of bacteria in the mouth.
Other studies have found that some diseases that lower the body’s resistance to infection, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can make oral health problems more severe, too.
The human body is an amazing thing. But it’s important to remember that we have to take care of all of its parts- even the mouth. It’s not enough to diet, exercise and meditate. You have to brush and floss, too. Remember, your teeth are more than just a pretty smile. They aid in speech, development, eating and nutrition, face shape and appearance and so much more. You can hide a belly or other area you may not love, but you can’t hide your teeth!
This year, make a resolution to get in better oral health! Commit to brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Your teeth will thank you and so will your whole body.
If you need help getting your child’s mouth in shape this year, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to help. Call our office at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!