Oral Health & How It Links to the Body

how oral health links to bodyAre you familiar with the mouth-body connection? The fact of the matter is that our mouths play a much larger role than you may have initially thought. Simply put, what happens inside of your mouth can affect the rest of your body, and vice versa. This connection is what is known as the “mouth-body connection” that researchers have been intrigued by for quite some time.

One of the reasons for this relationship is because our teeth are connected to the bloodstream. Our mouths are filled with bacteria, the same bacteria that cause decay when we do not have the situation under control. When the issue gets out of hand, the bacteria may find its way into our bloodstream potentially causing mayhem on the body in a number of different ways.

What Connections Have Researchers Found?

Over the years, researchers have found many possible connections between diseases of the mouth – specifically periodontal disease – and our bodies.

Oral Health & Diabetes

Arguably the strongest connection of them all is the link between periodontitis (gum inflammation) and diabetes. Researchers found that inflammation which begins in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to control sugar, thus leading to diabetes. The worst part is that high blood sugar levels make you far more susceptible to infection, only causing further issues to arise.

Oral Health & Heart Disease

A close second in this relationship is the connection with oral health and heart disease. A study found that in those with heart disease, 91% of the patients also had periodontitis, compared to only 66% with no heart disease. That’s a significant difference. It is explained that inflammation in the mouth also causes inflammation in our blood vessels which results in high blood pressure and blood flow restriction, risk factors for heart disease over time.

Other connections exist, but are not as well documented as the two above. However, for your own knowledge, studies have shown possible pinks between oral health and pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, lung conditions, arthritis, and obesity.

Moral of the Story

With all this to say, the moral of the story is quite clear: take care of your mouth and the body will benefit. Taking care of your mouth means 3 things must happen:

1. Brush at least twice per day for 2 minutes per session (morning & night, electric toothbrush recommended for a more effective clean).

2. Floss at least once a day (every night, but it is recommended to floss after every meal).

3. Visit your dentist at least twice a year (preferably every 6 months) to treat any problems that exist within the mouth before they worsen or lead to extraction.

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