Is There Really A Mouth-Body Connection?

» Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Dear Dr. Merchant,

I have been hearing some talk lately about the connection between mouth and body when it comes to overall health. Does my oral health really play a part in how the rest of my body functions?

Signed, Curious                                                                    

Dear Curious,

Absolutely! Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. What you put into it and how you take care of it can directly affect way more than just your mouth. For instance, poor oral health can have links to heart disease and/or stroke. For pregnant women, gum disease can lead to pre-term birth and other complications during fetal development in the womb. Lastly, diabetics should take special care with their oral health as gum infections give bacteria places to thrive, which can lead to blood sugar complications. 

The Heart of the Matter

Poor oral health leads to weakened gums, which can lead to openings for bacteria to thrive and enter the bloodstream. This may lead to inflammation in other parts of the body. It has been suggested that this inflammation may be related to an increased risk of heart attack and/or stroke. Brushing and flossing daily can help reduce inflammation before it creates a portal for oral bacteria to get in and snowball into other health conditions. Colgate has an article that includes this topic on the ColgateProfessional website.

Mouth-Baby=Bacteria-Baby

We all know that what a pregnant mother eats affects her unborn child. What many don’t realize is that poor oral health can also affect an unborn child in very drastic ways. Pre-term birth and low birth weight are among the complications that have been linked to oral health issues during pregnancy. It is thought that bacteria that gets released into the bloodstream through infected gums can reach the womb and affect the fetus in multiple undesirable ways.

Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetics have enough to worry about without having to add mouth infections to their list. The fact is that diabetics have difficulty regulating blood sugars. High blood sugar can promote an environment that is favorable for infections to grow. Bleeding gums are an ideal portal for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and lead to infection in another part of the body.

The mouth-body connection is very important when it comes to overall health. When you take good care of your mouth, you are taking good care of the rest of your body as well. Folks who are in good health already may not be nearly as affected by issues like bacteria entering the bloodstream through inflamed gums. If your health is already compromised in some way, taking proper care of your oral health is one more step you should take to get your body in optimal working condition. More information on this subject can be found on the American Dental Association website.

Happy Oral Health!

Dr. Christopher D Merchant D.D.S.

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