It has been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul” but, for dentists like the skilled professionals at Coastal Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry in Virginia Beach, VA, the mouth can be a “window” to your overall health. In fact, your mouth could be thought of as a “door” too since many dental issues can lead to systemic issues. An issue can be referred to as systemic when it affects your entire “system”; in other words, your whole body.
The reverse is also true since many health issues can cause problems with your oral health, despite your best efforts to care for your teeth and gums. It is vital to understand this connection between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body in order to protect yourself.
Oral Bacteria Linked To Major Health Problems
Humans serve as a habitat for an entire ecosystem of living organisms although it is mostly microscopic and harmless. They live on our skin, in our noses and in our mouths. Maintaining a routine of brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and flossing daily can usually control these microorganisms. However,under the right conditions, usually as a result of neglecting one’s dental hygiene, these bacteria in our mouths can cause minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay to become major systemic conditions.
Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health
Medical research has established a link between endocarditis and poor oral health. Endocarditis is when an infection from one part of your body such as from an infected tooth, spreads to the lining of your heart tissues through your bloodstream, compromising the heart muscles. Research also exists that poor oral health increases the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes.
Oral Health and Overall Health
In addition, research has found that 90% of systemic medical conditions show themselves through symptoms in our mouths. Periodontitis — more commonly known as gum disease — is more prevalent among patients with uncontrolled diabetes and seeing it can be a sign that a patient should have a check-up with their medical doctor or endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). Lesions appearing in the mouth can be an warning that some autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS may be at work. Lost teeth may indicate the onset of osteoporosis, a disease which weakens the bones and makes them brittle. Observing a decline in oral health during the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease is also common.
Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene
So your teeth are looking out for you, but what can you do to look out for them?
Coastal Dentistry recommends brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and nourishes the bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Staying hydrated is also important since saliva washes away excess food particles that can form plaque and neutralizes some of the acids from food that can dissolve our tooth enamel. Maintaining a healthy diet with very little added sugar is also recommended.
Most importantly, you should schedule regular appointments with Coastal Dentistry in the Virginia Beach, VA area or your local dentist to treat any issues as soon as they arise. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with a Coastal Dentistry today call (757) 453-7657 to schedule at our Laskin Road office or call (757) 264-6361 for our Haygood Road office or schedule an appointment online.