The Mouth-Body Link

preventing gum disease northern vaYou may have heard the old phrase, “The eyes are the window to the soul,” but dentists have their own saying: the mouth is the window to your overall health. In fact, your mouth can serve as a door to your health, as many oral health problems lead to additional health problems. Dr. Datta Malyavantham of Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA helps patients prevent oral health problems to lead healthier lives. It’s important to understand the link between your oral health and that of your whole body.

Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health

Multiple studies show a link between endocarditis, an infection that spreads to the heart through the bloodstream, and poor oral health. If a tooth is infected or a patient has progressive gum disease, this infection can travel through the bloodstream and compromise heart muscles. There’s also evidence that the risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and strokes increase when there is too much oral bacteria.

Oral Bacteria

While most of it is harmless, our bodies are home to an entire ecosystem of microscopic living organisms called bacteria. They live on our skin, in our noses, mouths, and even in our digestive systems. Most oral bacteria is harmless, though it’s important to remove it at least twice a day by brushing and flossing the teeth. If allowed to build up over time, oral bacteria can turn minor problems such as gum disease into major tooth decay or even major systemic conditions.

Oral Health and Overall Health

Most systemic medical conditions reveal themselves in the mouth in some way. For example, gum disease is more prevalent among patients with uncontrolled diabetes, and having gum disease can indicate a patient needs to see their primary care physician. Lesions in the mouth may be an indicator of autoimmune disorders. Lost teeth may be a sign of osteoporosis, which weakens bones and makes them brittle. Additionally, declining oral health is common during the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene

You can still play an active role in protecting your oral health. Dr. Datta recommends brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day to remove plaque that forms in between teeth. Keeping hydrated also helps flush away bacteria in the mouth. You should also maintain a diet without a lot of added sugar, as bacteria love feeding on sugary foods.

Keep regular appointments with your dentist to prevent and treat minor issues before they become big problems. For patients in the Sterling area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Datta online or call Ridgetop Dental at X today.

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