It has been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” However, to dentists like Drs. Kara Marshall-Roppa and Dominic Roppa of Smile Viera, a respected dental practice in Viera, FL, the mouth can also be considered a “window” to a view of your overall health. In fact, your mouth could be seen as a “door” as well due to the fact that many oral health ailments lead to systemic issues. An issue can be labeled systemic when it affects your entire “system” — your whole body.
Conversely, many somatic health issues can reveal themselves through a decline in your oral health, even though you may be making your best efforts to care for your teeth and gums. Therefore, a healthy mouth equals a healthy body and vice versa. Understanding this connection between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body can be beneficial to your entire body, including your teeth.
Oral Bacteria Linked To Major Health Problems
The human body is a habitat for an entire ecosystem of living microorganisms, on our skin and in our nose and mouth, although most of them are completely harmless. Some of these though can cause tooth decay, gum disease and abscesses — serious and painful infections in the roots of your teeth.
Regular teeth brushing (at least at least twice a day is recommended by Smile Viera and the American Dental Association) and flossing (daily) will usually keep these microorganisms in check. However, when you neglect your dental hygiene, conditions can become right for these bacteria in our mouths to turn minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay into major systemic conditions like heart disease.
Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health
Medical research has established a link between endocarditis and poor oral health. Endocarditis is when an infection from one part of your body, such as from an infected tooth, spreads to the lining of your heart through your bloodstream, damaging the heart muscles.
It has also been shown that the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes all increase with exposure to the bacteria from oral health issues like abscesses and gum disease. Researchers have also uncovered a correlation between poor oral health in expectant mothers and their children being born prematurely. .
Oral Health and Overall Health
Alternatively, doctors have found that 90% of systemic medical conditions display symptoms in our mouths. It has been established that gum disease is more prevalent among patients with uncontrolled diabetes and its’ presence can be a warning that a diabetic person should have a check-up with their endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). Similarly, lesions in the mouth can be a sign of some autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS, while lost teeth may be a sign of the onset of osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and makes them brittle.
Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene
So if you look after your teeth they will “look after” you, but how do we do this? Your Smile Viera dentist recommends brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the bacteria-nourishing plaque that forms on our teeth, leading to tooth decay.
Keeping properly hydrated is also important to good oral health as saliva washes away excess food that can combine with saliva to form plaque and neutralizes some of the bacterial digestive acids that eat away at our tooth enamel. A healthy diet with very little added sugar is also recommended to limit food to the bacteria.
Most importantly, you should schedule appointments for routine examinations and cleaning with Smile Viera in Viera, FL or your local area dentist to treat any issues as soon as they arise. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with your Smile Viera dentist today call (321) 614-3833 or schedule an appointment online.