Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body and problems within the body can affect the health of your mouth.
The human body is broken down into multiple complex individual systems that each have their own function and role. However, each individual system intersects and overlaps at some points, making up the body system as a whole.
The oral cavity, believe it or not, is one of those complex systems that sometimes seems to be overlooked.
Your mouth serves as a window to the rest of your body. It can give signs or signals of health disorders, certain diseases, substance abuse and hormonal changes. For example, mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection, the regular occurrence of canker sores can be a sign of Crohn’s disease and pale and bleeding gums can be a sign of a blood disorder.
In the case of substance abuse involving alcohol, opiates and/or other controlled substances, the traces can be detected through our saliva. Prescription medications and some over-the-counter medicines can decrease the saliva flow in our mouths, leading to tooth decay, enamel stains, weakened and brittle teeth or even bone loss in the jaws.
Our saliva contains natural buffers to help wash away food, and it also neutralizes acids produced by harmful bacteria in the mouth. If that bacteria is not kept at bay, the microbes within the bacteria can cause diseases, with the most common being periodontitis (periodontal disease).
Thus begins the domino effect.
Many studies have shown periodontal disease, if left untreated and not maintained, has been associated and linked with diabetes, heart and kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer.
Now, to be clear, just because you may have noticed a pinkish tinge to the toothpaste or mouthwash you just spit down the drain, or you’re taking a decongestant that your medical doctor may have prescribed because of a sinus infection, does not mean you should go rushing in for lab tests or for a quick look by your dentist.
Most of the time, it means that you just need to step up a little on homecare. Or, maybe you just had an extra glass of wine the night before, which caused thinning of the blood. Please don’t fret!
There are simple measures you can take and safeguards that you can put in place to protect your mouth and your body from rolling out the welcome mat to the bad bacteria and their little microbe guests.
First and foremost, start out by learning more about the connection between your oral health and overall health and how each is linked to each other. Next, practice good oral hygiene by brushing daily with toothpaste or toothpowder containing xylitol.
Many individuals choose to turn it up a notch by incorporating an oral mouth rinse that is essential oil based and formulated with all natural and organic antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds.
If you really want to make sure you are dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, you can introduce oil pulling into your daily oral hygiene routine.
On top of your diligent homecare, don’t forget how important it is to schedule you regular teeth cleanings and exam every 6 months with your dentist. For patients that have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it is extremely important that you see your dental hygienist every 3-4 months.
No matter the interval you see your dentist and dental hygienist, it is always a good idea to replace your toothbrush every 3 months or when you notice the bristles are looking a little tired and worn out.
Be conscious of your diet and limit the intake of foods with added sugars and acids, and brush or rinse after meals.
I know this may seem like a lot to remember, but in reality, it’s very little when it comes to ensuring a healthy smile and a healthy body. n
Nicole Dean is the Office Manager for Dr. William J. Twohig DDS. Nicole has been working in the dental field for 14 years now, many of which were spent as a chairside assistant. She is certified in CPT and has also trained in cross coding for medical/dental billing,medical law and ethics, healthcare customer service, and health in the human body and disease.
Dr. Twohig practices dentistry in Weyauwega, using a natural and holistic approach. Dr. Twohig and his staff are dedicated to advanced education in traditional and alternative approaches in dentistry. In their office they look at not only dentistry but they incorporate a whole-body approach to the dental treatment and services they provide to their patients. Dr. Twohig works with a large group of natural practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists, traditional doctors and specialists in muscle testing, nutrition, homeopathy, tap therapy, aromatherapy, detoxification, and much more.
“Many studies have shown periodontal disease, if left untreated and not maintained, has been associated and linked with diabetes, heart and kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer.”