How Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
How does your oral health affect the rest of your body?
Oral health and your overall health are closely related. We’ve found, on numerous occasions those with good oral health have good overall health, and vice versa.
It’s known to the dental profession that bacteria in the mouth are the leading cause of oral health issues, in terms of tooth decay and gum disease. They destroy tooth enamel to get to dental pulp, they break down bone in the jaw, infect the roots of teeth prompting the need for root canal therapy, among other unsavory things.
With more bacteria in the mouth, you are more likely to have other health issues arise. Keeping your oral cavity as clean as possible will help reduce other health issues in the body. Brushing your teeth, flossing, using non-alcoholic mouth rinse…these all help to keep your mouth clean and assist in the removal of bacteria.
What health issues can arise from bacteria in the mouth?
Well, there are several to name:
Dental Cysts – After bacteria in the mouth start decaying your tooth and make their way through the enamel and dentin (the first and second layers of your tooth), they wind up at the dental pulp. This dental pulp gives the tooth it’s vitality. It’s what keeps the tooth “alive”. The bacteria will start destroying the dental pulp when they get to it. Usually, when the bacteria get to the dental pulp you would start feeling pain in that tooth. The bacteria will continue to travel towards the root of the tooth and down to the actual nerve under the tooth root. Now, a cyst is essentially a pocket of fluid in the body. In this case the cyst will have bacteria, broken down bone material and other fluids. As the cyst grows, the bone around it will resorb (break down), and there will be permanent bone loss in that area. It’s never a good thing to have an infected tooth root. The bacteria in this cyst and root is able to travel and the bacteria can get into the blood stream causing other problems.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) – Gum disease occurs when the gums in your mouth become infected by bacteria. The gums start to become swollen around the teeth, they can begin bleeding, you may have pus that comes out of pockets around the teeth, and you will start experiencing bone loss around infected teeth and under infected gums. Periodontal disease is not a mouth-centric problem. As your body is constantly fighting infection, the immune system is weaker and other health problems can arise. There has been some study done on the link between periodontitis (gum disease) and heart disease as well. It was found that about 91% of people that have heart disease have also been found to have periodontitis. This is clearly contrasted against the 66% of people without heart disease. Both conditions (periodontitis and heart disease) have several factors in common with each other: smoking, bad dietary habits, and an unhealthy weight.
In fact, a study wad done that led to the finding that the same bacteria that cause plaque in your mouth, and that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, can get into the blood stream and trigger clots that increase the risk of heart attacks and heart disease. The study was done by University of Bristol researchers, as well as scientists at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland (also called the RCSI). Link to the article on this.
The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body.
There have been many in the dental field that have either stated or have agreed with the idea that the mouth is a gateway to the health of the rest of the body. In terms of bacterial issues in the body, this can be easily seen to be the case. The more bacteria in your mouth, in your jaw bone, along the nerves under your teeth etc., the more chances you have to get ill, or have problems arise as a result of being exposed to this excessive bacteria.
As a corollary, the less bacteria in the mouth, the gums, the jaw bone, and along the nerves under your teeth, the less one would experience bacterial issues in the rest of the body. That’s not to say that if you have infection from other parts of the body, they won’t affect your health. I’m linking here the relation of the health of the mouth in particular, to the health of the rest of the body.
Dear reader, I hope this helped shed some light on the importance of oral health and how it relates to your overall health!
Stay healthy my friends!