Healthy teeth and gums are crucial to your overall health

Your mouth speaks volumes about you. It’s been observed that when your dentist looks into your mouth, it’s a bit like a master mechanic looking under the hood of a car: he can tell what other parts may be in trouble down the line by the state of the entrance.  Your mouth can indicate the state of your health at distant sites.

Let’s face it. Most of us take our teeth for granted. Sure, we brush and floss (well, some of the time). And we know, of course, that teeth are essential for chewing our food and for maintaining a beautiful smile. But when we get diseases such as tooth decay or gum disease, we always associate them with possibility of root canals or tooth loss, but we seldom think of these problems as posing permanent risks to our general health and wellbeing.

However that perception is now changing. Latest research provides convincing evidence that oral health and overall health are inseparably linked – what’s good for our mouth is also good for the rest of our body we work so hard to keep fit and healthy. Dentists increasingly screen for systemic diseases, which involve many organs or the whole body, through tongue assessments, saliva tests, blood pressure checks, and simple observation of the teeth and gums.

Preston Dentist - Teeth and Body Connection

A New Approach to Dental Health

Research has recently proven what dentists have long suspected: that there is a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is one the most prevalent diseases in the world, with an estimated 70% of the world’s population affected by some form of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10-15% of the world’s population, or 600-900 million people, are suffering from severe periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis is an infection and inflammation of the tissues that support the teeth. Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease, premature delivery of low-birth-weight babies, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and diabetes. Though the exact nature of the link is unknown, it pays to keep your gums healthy to prevent or avoid exacerbating these conditions.

 

Potential Effects of Moderate to Severe Periodontitis on the Body

  • Diabetes: 2-4 times
  • Stroke: 2 times
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease: 2-5 times
  • Coronary artery disease: 2 times
  • Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: 4-7 times
Certain conditions can have direct negative effects on the oral cavity — including unhealthy diet, tobacco use, and harmful alcohol use.  Oral diseases share common risk factors with the four leading chronic diseases:
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cancer
  • chronic respiratory diseases
  • diabetes

This link between oral and overall health, now becoming common in conventional dentistry, that for years been a key principle of what’s known as holistic dentistry, which takes an integrated approach to dental care. Holistic dentists advocate for optimal nutrition, and take a minimally invasive approach to resolving dental problems.

Whether you take the holistic path to oral health or the conventional approach, one thing is certain: The way you think about your teeth should change, as new studies shed more light on the numerous ways in which a healthy mouth is essential to overall health and vitality, and a key factor in longevity.