The Link Between Your Mouth and Your Overall Health

While the eyes are the window to the soul, your mouth is the window to a view of your overall health. Many health problems show up in the mouth, and other problems originate in the mouth. This mouth-body link is why it’s not only important to keep up good oral hygiene, but to maintain regular appointments with your dentist.

Paradox Dental Center in Indianapolis is your dental home for the long-term care of your natural smile. Dr. Robin and Carole Thoman believe in educating their patients about the link between the mouth and body.

Oral Bacteria Linked To Major Health Problems

Humans are host to a microscopic ecosystem of living organisms, especially on our skin, in our nose, and in our mouth. Bacteria also perform essential functions in the gut during digestion, and the body must maintain an adequate balance to run efficiently.

Naturally-occuring oral bacteria consume leftover food particles on the teeth and build to form plaque. When plaque builds up, it hardens to form tartar, which destroys the teeth and causes cavities and gum disease. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing alone.

Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to keep oral bacteria from causing gum disease, but it’s important to know that gum disease is linked to major health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, and cardiovascular disease. Seeing your dentist every six months will ensure that any hardened tartar is removed.

Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health

Poor oral health is linked to endocarditis, which is an infection of the lining of the heart, compromising how the heart works. Bacteria from gum disease or an infected tooth can travel through the bloodstream to the heart. Inflammation as a result of the body’s immune response to gum disease is also linked to clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke. 

Oral Health and Overall Health

Many health problems reveal themselves in the mouth in some way. For example, patients with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to experience gum disease. Lesions in the mouth can indicate autoimmune disorders such as HIV. Lost teeth can indicate osteoporosis, which occurs when bones are weakened and brittle. Alzheimer’s disease is also linked to poor oral health.

If your dentist suspects your oral health problems are related to other conditions, they will recommend you visit your primary care provider.

Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene

You play an important role in preventing illness. Brushing and flossing your teeth as part of an at-home oral hygiene regimen is the single most effective way to prevent gum disease. The second most important way is to maintain regular visits with your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Drs. Robin and Carol Thoman welcome and treat patients from many communities in South Indianapolis including Greenwood and Southport. To schedule a visit to our office please call (317) 325-8612 or request an appointment online.