The old adage goes that “the eyes are the window to the soul.” However, to Dr. Frederick Marra, a respected dentist in Cohoes, NY, the mouth can be a glimpse of your general health. In fact, many oral health issues lead to systemic or overall health issues.
The reverse is also true in that many health issues can be detected by a decline in your oral health. If your oral health is suffering, despite your best efforts to care for your teeth and gums, you may be dealing with a health issue you don’t know you have. To protect your health, it is important to understand this connection between your oral health and that of the rest of your body. It just might save your life.
Oral Bacteria Linked To Major Health Problems
Although it is all microscopic, human beings are a habitat for an entire ecosystem of living organisms, on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Many living bacteria call our mouths home though most of it is harmless to us. Maintaining a regular oral hygiene regimen of brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and daily flossing will usually keep these microorganisms in check. However, when the right conditions for these bacteria are met, usually as a result of neglecting one’s dental hygiene, these bacteria in our mouths can turn minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay into major systemic conditions.
Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health
Research indicates that a link exists between endocarditis and poor oral health. Endocarditis is when an infection from one part of your body — like an infected tooth, for example — spreads to the lining of your heart through your bloodstream, weakening the heart muscles. There are also studies that show that the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes increases with exposure to the bacteria from oral health issues. A link has also been uncovered between poor oral health in expectant mothers and the premature births of their children.
Oral Health and Overall Health
Conversely, researchers have found that 90% of systemic medical conditions reveal themselves in our mouths through symptoms. It is a well known fact that patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Therefore, the presence of gum disease in a diabetic person, might suggest that they should have a check-up with their medical doctor or endocrinologist (diabetic specialist).
Lesions in the mouth can be a sign of autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. While lost teeth may warn of the onset of osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease. People that are developing Alzheimer’s Disease are often observed to have a decline in oral health as well..
Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene
So your teeth are looking out for you, but what can you do to look out for them? Dr. Marra recommends brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and makes them vulnerable to tooth decay. Maintaining proper hydration is also crucial as saliva washes away excess food that can form plaque and neutralizes some of the acids from food that eat away at our tooth enamel. Dentists and doctors both recommend a healthy diet with very little added sugar to control tooth decay and other systemic concerns.
The most important part of keeping your smile healthy is scheduling schedule regular appointments with Dr. Marra in the Cohoes, NY area to treat any issues as soon as they arise. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with Dr. Marra at Capital Region Complete Dental Care & Implants today call (518) 650-1930 or schedule an appointment online.