How the Mouth and Body are Connected

Good oral health is not just crucial for having perfect, pearly white teeth! It is more important than you might realize!  Your oral health effects your overall health and wellness.

Like all other body organs, your mouth is home to different types of bacteria – most of them being harmless. However, since anything you eat or drink first goes through your mouth, and then enters other body organs, your mouth can be thought of as a gateway to your entire body. Additionally, any wounds or openings in your gums and surrounding oral tissue, can be a direct route to your bloodstream and system for toxins or micro-organisma.

Under normal circumstances when you brush and floss regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle – your body defenses are strong. Your immune system and good bacteria control any bad bacteria that may cause dental infections.  It’s a delicate balance. However, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, underlying health conditions, or an unhealthy lifestyle can easily throw this balance off leading to gum infections and cavities.

If the conditions are right, plaque and tartar deposits build up on the teeth, providing a haven for the harmful bacteria to grow and replicate. If the number of harmful bacteria become so high, your immune system and the beneficial bacteria in your mouth cannot keep them at bay, you become susceptible to infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. 

An underlying disease in the oral cavity does not just affect your oral health, but it can also have a direct influence on your physical health and well-being. According to the World Dental Federation, there is a close link between dental health and various chronic diseases. Your oral health status offers clues regarding your overall physical health and fitness. 

What Conditions are Linked with your Oral Health?

Unsatisfactory oral health status can lead to a variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Cardiovascular Disease – several research studies have established an association between gum inflammation and heart disease. According to a study, individuals who have underlying gum disease are 35% more at risk of developing coronary artery disease than those who enjoy good dental health. It is believed that the inflammatory cells that are released due to periodontal inflammation have a role to play in clogging the arteries and causing a stroke. 
  • Endocarditis – endocarditis refers to the inflammation of the inner lying of the heart, the endocardium. This life-threatening situation occurs when harmful bacteria from the plaque and infected gums enter the bloodstream through the food, attaching to certain areas of the heart such as the valves or chambers. Another health risk associated with underlying periodontal disease is stroke. This condition arises when the plaque detaches from a blood vessel and travels to the heart or brain through the bloodstream, leading to a deadly situation. 
  • Oral Health and Pregnancy – periodontitis during pregnancy has been linked with preterm birth and low weight newborns. A research study has shown that active periodontal inflammation in pregnant mothers increases the risk of preterm, low-weight birth by 7.5%. 
  • Pneumonia – when we breathe, the harmful bacteria inside our cavity can travel through the air that is pulled into the lungs. When