What Your Mouth has to do with Overall Health
Your smile is the first impression that people notice about you. Do you know the mouth is the doorway to the rest of your body? In the United States about 70% of people have Periodontal Disease. We now have peer reviewed research showing the importance of good oral hygiene leads to better overall health. What most people do not understand is plaque is made up of a biofilm that houses bacteria. The plaque sits on our teeth and near the gumline. The plaque turns to acid and can create a cavity or start the gum disease process. The bacteria is an irritant to the body. If the irritant is not removed the body sends chemical markers to start the inflammation process. This stage is called Gingivitis. Gingivitis is when the gums get red and puffy and bleed easily. It does not affect the surrounding bone support of the teeth. Just the gum tissue called gingiva.
If the plaque build up is not removed this leads to Periodontal Disease which is when people lose attachment and bone support around their teeth. The body does not know what cells are good and what cells are bad so it will start dissolving the underline attachment and the bone around the teeth. Most of time we see this happen between the teeth. That is why it is so important to floss everyday. The reason why we see Periodontal Disease start between the teeth is because that is where the weakest part of the tooth is connected to the socket. This is why it is an easy target for the bacteria to start dissolving the underlying bone structure that hold the teeth in the socket. When this happens it creates a pocket where food and bacteria can get trapped under the gums. The pocket can be compared to a 9 inch square open wound on the body. It contains harmful bacteria and once it enters into the body's bloodstream it affects our organ systems of the body. For example, heart, brain, lungs, and kidneys. As you can see, Periodontal Disease can cause many problems that can contribute to our overall health.
The same plaque bacteria from the mouth can be found in the arteries around our heart. It can raise levels of C-reactive proteins. C-reactive protein can cause damage to our organs and can lead to heart disease and strokes. Periodontal Disease can increase the production of prostaglandins in pregnant women and cause preterm labor and low birthweight babies. People who are diabetic can see unstable blood sugar levels from the infection. Not to mention that they are poor healers. So it is extremely important to keep up with good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing.
Researchers are finding out more information about how this affects the body. Most research states that keeping your mouth clean can stabilize the disease process. Once you have Periodontal Disease, it does not go away you can only stabilize or control it. The research findings say there is a small percentage that Periodontal Disease can be genetic. However, the research findings state that good oral hygiene is the key in preventing Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease. It is recommended that people who are prone to Periodontal Disease should have their teeth cleaned every three month by a dental hygienist because the bacteria can reach destructive levels in as little as 90 days.
The mouth is the doorway to the rest of the body. As a good friend told me, do not forget to smile it will increase your face value and overall health! The peer reviewed research the medical professionals are finding is important information for all of us to keep us healthy. See you hygienist routinely! The mouth is connected to the rest of the body.