Mouth – Body Connection

Dental care is one of the highest unmet needs in the world. A person who faces dental issues, such as tooth decay, will most likely let it slide until it becomes a bigger issue. This is because light dental problems aren’t usually painful. However, dental issues can evolve to greater health risks if left untreated by a dentist. After all, research shows that chronic medical conditions are caused by the mouth and body connection.

Mouth and Body Connection Explained

Several people take their teeth for granted because dental issues don’t seem to pose great risks to our health. However, even a symptom such as bleeding gums means your body is about to face huge health issues. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral health issue that affects the entire body.

Mouth - Body Connection - Toledo Periodontist

This is because of plaque buildup that causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream. At its worst, bacteria from periodontal diseases cause blood clots and lead to heart attacks. Gingivitis is characterized by bleeding gums, and is the first warning of a progressing periodontal disease.

Bleeding gums occur when plaque isn’t removed thoroughly. Sometimes, brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash regularly is not enough to remove the plaque. However, you can combat plaque buildup by eating a balanceddiet and getting your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist. If left untreated, gingivitis will evolve into chronic periodontitis. This means an infection is progressing, and more complications will arise. The complications include having bad breath, receding gum line, and loose teeth. Furthermore, it will develop to advanced periodontitis, and will lead to permanent tooth loss.

Systemic Diseases Associated with Periodontal Disease

1. Heart Disease

Accumulated bacteria in plaque will start attacking healthy tissues in the mouth and enter the bloodstream. Torn blood vessels in compromised gum tissues will leave an open door for bacteria to enter. When this happens, the bacteria will start wreaking havoc by posing as human proteins. The body will respond by activating platelets and blocking blood vessels. After some time, the formed blood clots can lead to complications, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes and periodontal disease is actually a two-way relationship. Poor sugar control leads to high glucose levels, and sugar helps bacteria flourish in the mouth. This makes it harder for a person to control the infection. In order to prevent periodontal disease, a person must have good diabetic control.

3. Pregnancy Complications

Due to hormonal fluctuations, pregnant women are at an increased risk of facing periodontal diseases. Moreover, a labor-inducing chemical called prostaglandin is constantly produced when a person has periodontitis. This puts pregnant women at risk of having premature labor and delivering underweight babies.

4. Pneumonia

Not many people are aware that healthy gums lead to healthy lungs. There is a balance within a healthy mouth wherein good and bad bacteria exists. Poor oral hygiene can foster and help grow bacteria that can pose problems for the lungs. When periodontal disease starts destroying gum tissues, they allow bacteria to leak and enter the bloodstream. The bacteria will reach your internal organs, including the heart and the lungs.

Eventually, a body-wide inflammation will occur when bacteria starts breaking through the bloodstream, causing Pneumonia.

Treating and Preventing Periodontal Disease

It’s wise to keep the mouth and body connection in mind. In order to avoid the systemic diseases above, visit your dentist regularly. Professional cleaning kills harmful bacteria that reside in the mouth. This keeps an infection from happening due to weakened gum tissues attacked by bacteria.

However, if you find yourself with a progressing periodontal disease, visit a periodontist. A periodontist specializes in treating periodontal diseases, among other dental procedures. They will diagnose your condition and perform the necessary measures to prevent the infection from further developing.