The old saying goes that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” However, to Dr. Carter Perkins of Perkins Dentistry, a dentist in Dunnellon, FL, the mouth can be the “window” to your health. Your mouth can be a “door” as well since many oral health issues can lead to systemic issues. An issue can be described as systemic when it affects your entire “system” — your body.
The reverse is also true in that many health issues can cause your oral health to decline, even though you may be doing your best to care for your teeth and gums. It is vital to protect your health by understanding this link between your oral health and the health of your entire body. Your life and your teeth can both benefit from it.
Oral Bacteria Linked To Major Health Problems
Although it is invisible to the human eye, our bodies are an ecosystem for a host of living organisms, on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Our mouths are a home to many bacteria, although most of it is harmless to us. Brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and flossing daily can usually keep these microorganisms from getting out of control. However, when the right conditions for these bacteria are met, usually due to neglecting one’s dental hygiene, the bacteria in our mouths can cause minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay to turn into major systemic conditions.
Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health
Medical research shows that a connection exists between endocarditis and poor oral health. Endocarditis occurs when an infection from one part of your body such as from an infected tooth, spreads to the lining of your heart through your bloodstream, compromising the heart muscles. Research also indicates that the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes increases with exposure to the bacteria from oral health issues. Scientists have also uncovered a cause and effect relationship between poor oral health in expectant mothers and their children being born prematurely.
Oral Health and Overall Health
Alternatively, doctors have found that 90% of systemic medical conditions show themselves in our mouths through symptoms. It’s an established fact that gum disease is more prevalent among people with uncontrolled diabetes. Its’ presence can be a warning that a person should have a check-up with their medical doctor or endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). Lesions in the mouth can be a sign of some autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Lost teeth may herald the onset of osteoporosis, a disease which compromises the bones and makes them brittle. Declining oral health is also common during the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene
So your teeth are looking out for you, but what can you do to look out for them? Dr. Perkins recommends brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and nourishes bacteria, leading to tooth decay.
A healthy diet and hydrating properly are also important as a proper diet should contain very little sugar — the favorite food of the bacteria that can ravage your teeth and gums — an saliva washes away excess food that can form plaque and neutralizes some of the acids. They’re also both good advice for keeping your body healthy as well.
Most importantly, you should schedule regular appointments with Dr. Perkins at Perkins Dentistry in the Dunnellon, FL area to treat any issues as soon as they arise. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with Dr. Perkins today call (352) 440-5827 or schedule an appointment online.