Aside from the aesthetic implications of failing to care for your teeth and gums, poor oral health poses major threats for your entire wellbeing. Many common ailments and diseases are said to be linked to the oral cavity, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. One study shows that people with serious gum disease are 40 percent more likely to develop a chronic health condition.
What does this mean for the future of healthcare? We can often identify other issues by looking at the state of your teeth and soft tissue in the mouth. As such, failure to maintain the proper oral hygiene can damage parts of your body, too. Holistic health is a two-way street, which is why ignoring one over the other is never a good idea.
Oral Health and Periodontitis
Much of the body’s bacteria is introduced through the mouth. Eating, drinking and simply breathing help these pesky molecules build up on your teeth and gums. Even while sleeping, bacteria grows, which is why you might wake up with a film-like feeling on the surface of your teeth and around your lips. A 2-minute brushing session followed by some gentle flossing can help, but you need to maintain these regular routines for life to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.
Failing to maintain proper oral health practices allows bacteria to build up around your teeth, making your gums more prone to infection. When this occurs, the immune system begins to attack the gums, resulting in inflammation until the bacteria is back under control. While the immune system is trying to help your body, regular inflammation damages delicate gums and the very bones that hold your teeth intact. Thus, periodontitis – or gum disease – strikes.
Periodontitis is responsible for and sometimes indicative of various ailments throughout the body. Consider the following diseases and how gum disease plays a role:
- Inflammation due to periodontitis disables the body’s ability to regular blood sugar and employ insulin. At the same time, high blood sugar can trigger gum infections.
- Heart Disease
- Over 90 percent of heart disease patients suffer from periodontitis. The two conditions share risk factors, including smoking, weight gain and inadequate nutrition. Cardiologists say inflammation in the mouth constricts the blood vessels, disabling proper flow to and from the heart, potentially causing a life-threatening heart attack or stroke.
- As is common in periodontitis, bone loss is the primary concern surrounding osteoporosis. Studies show that women with osteoporosis are more prone to gum disease than those without osteoporosis, but research is ongoing on whether periodontitis weakens bones outside of the mouth and jaw area.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Many patients who receive treatment for their periodontal disease claim their arthritis symptoms were relieved.
- Lung Conditions
- Gum disease can worsen pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to increased levels of bacteria entering the lungs.
- Periodontitis is easily aggravated in patients with a higher body fat percentage, studies show.
Holistic Dentistry in Miami
While these are the most prevalent links, your body is an interconnected vessel. Instead of looking at your oral health as a separate situation, consider your wellbeing in its entirety. Taking care of your body can help your teeth and gums, while taking care of your teeth and gums can help your other organs. This is the general definition of holistic dentistry, and a pillar of our practice here at Assure A Smile.
If you’re looking to begin your journey into a holistic way of living starting with your oral health, or simply have questions or concerns about periodontitis, contact Assure A Smile at 305-274-0047.
We can help you find a path toward a balanced state of being through oral healthcare education, Perio Protect treatments, regular cleanings and toxic mercury filling removal.