Laurie DeRosa RDH
How an Unhealthy Mouth Impacts the Body
I have talked about how biofilms play an important role in the health of your mouth in my last article, Biofilm, Plaque and Your Dental Health. To review, biofilms are bacterial cells that team up and under your gum forming clusters of unhealthy bacteria. If left alone, these bacteria will become toxic. The cells actually feed off each other and if left undisturbed, will multiply and can cause periodontal disease.
Many of the bacteria are helpful, however some can be very damaging, not just to the teeth but to the connective tissue and bone that support the teeth which can cause you to lose your teeth. Research is showing that these biofiims can do much more than cause periodontal disease and damage our teeth and oral tissues.
Biofilm, Plaque and Your Liver
It is believed that these unhealthy biofilms can enter our bloodstream, infect the liver and cause the liver to produce proteins that clog the arteries. It is also thought that bacteria can travel through the arteries going right to the heart and play a role in heart disease. This is known as Infective Endocarditis.
When the gums are in a unhealthy state as in periodontal disease and infection is present the body is unable to take care of insulin levels which is detrimental for a diabetic. There are unhealthy bacteria in the mouth that if swallowed can actually move to the stomach and possibly cause ulcers.
The bacteria in our mouth gets into our lungs every time we take a breath. If your immune system is not in good shape you then you are prone to other infections in your body.
Regular Dental Care is for Your Whole Body
The key to a healthy mouth is to destroy the habitat in which these unhealthy bacteria thrive. If you are already brushing and flossing daily you are on the right track. However, you could do more. Adding a water pik or a antiseptic mouth rinse are extra steps that will disrupt the bacteria and keep it from becoming a toxic biofim that can infect our mouth and other parts of our body. Lastly, you should have regular check-ups with your dentist, cleanings with your hygienist and if you are diagnosed with gum disease do not let it go untreated, as there are effective non-surgical treatment options for periodontal disease.
Laurie DeRosa RDH is a Registered Dental Hygienist for biological dentistry National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA, an integrative medicine and dental center serving the Washington DC metro area. Using the latest in dental technology, her goal is to help the dental patient understand the important connection between their oral health and their overall health.