A popular saying tells us that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” However, to Dr. Dominic Roppa, Dr. Kara Marshall-Roppa and Dr. Aimee Bachman of Smile Viera in Viera FL, the mouth can be the “window” to a view of your general health. In fact, your mouth could be considered a “door” as well since many oral health problems lead systemic issues. An issue is termed systemic when it affects your entire “system”; in other words, not just your mouth but your body.
The opposite statement can also be true as many health systemic issues can cause issues with your oral health despite you making your best efforts to care for your teeth and gums. It is crucial for you to understand this connection between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body. Your life and your teeth may be riding on it.
Although we cannot see it, our bodies are a habitat for an entire ecosystem of living organisms, on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Our mouths are home to throngs of living bacteria- most of it basically harmless to us. Keeping up with a regular oral hygiene regimen that includes brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and flossing daily should keep these microorganisms under control. However, when the conditions are right for these bacteria, usually due to negligence of one’s dental hygiene, these bacteria in our mouths can cause minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay to turn into dangerous systemic conditions.
Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health
Researchers have determined that a link between poor oral health and endocarditis, which is when an infection from another part of your body such as from an infected tooth, spreads to the lining of your heart through your bloodstream, weakening the heart muscles. Studies exist that show that the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes increase with the heart’s exposure to the bacteria from oral health issues. Doctors have also observed a link between poor oral health in pregnant women and their children being born prematurely.
Oral Health and Overall Health
Conversely, research shows that 90% of systemic medical conditions can be observed through symptoms presenting in our mouths. It is an established fact that periodontitis- gum disease- is more prevalent among people with uncontrolled diabetes. Its’ presence can be a warning that a person that is borderline diabetic should probably have a check-up with their medical doctor or endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). Lesions in the mouth can also signal some autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Lost teeth may announce the onset of osteoporosis, a disease which weakens the bones and makes them brittle. Declining oral health is also commonly seen during the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene
So how do you prevent any of these dental issues from wreaking havoc on your body? Smile Viera recommends brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and nourishes bacteria, leading to tooth decay. Keeping your body properly hydrated is also important as saliva removes excess food that can form plaque and neutralizes some of the acids from food that eat away at our tooth enamel. Maintaining a healthy diet that includes very little added sugar is also recommended.
Most importantly, if you’re in the Viera FL area, you should schedule regular appointments with Drs. Roppa, Marshall-Roppa or Dr. Bachman to treat any issues as soon as they arise. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with a Smile Viera dentist today call (321) 614-3833 or schedule an appointment online.