In recent years, research has proven an undeniable connection between systemic and oral health. The body is often described as a spider web, if one part of the web is damaged, the entire structure is compromised. Every system is connected through the nerves in your spine, including what happens in the mouth. This supports the notion that any issues your dentist may find can be an indicator of a larger issue within the body.
Many signs that signify how your body is doing can be found in your mouth. Infection, deficiencies, and even stress all make themselves present. Anything from lesions to bacteria can all be signs of a larger condition like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Who would think that your heart would be so closely connected to your mouth? Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry found that people with gum disease were twice as likely as others to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke. They’ve found that periodontitis can be a major indicator of cardiovascular disease.
Oral infections indicate inflammation, which can most certainly be present in other places as well. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, so doesn’t it make sense? Diseases like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, and even cancer can lower the body’s resistance to bacteria, therefore making oral infections much worse. Gum disease is even linked to osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. There’s that pesky inflammation again!
So, what happens when we take better care of our teeth? Does overall health improve? Research shows that it does. When periodontitis is treated, it reduces the inflammation in the body across the board. Here’s how you can encourage your patients to help the process:
- Regular brushing, along with ECO Balance Gum Health Treatment
- Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse
- Limit sugary foods and beverages
- Replace toothbrushes regularly
- Professional cleanings
Seeing the dentist regularly not only allows them to remove tartar which traps bacteria along the gumline, but it also keeps the lines of communication open. Ask patients questions about chronic conditions, recent illnesses, and have open discussions about their overall health and how to improve it. Emphasizing the link between systemic and oral health will motivate patients and make them more aware of how their personal choices affect every area of their bodies.