Oral Health: The Mouth-Body Connection
Maintaining optimum oral care can do more than give you fresh breath and a great smile. It can promote your entire physical health. Mounting research reveals a strong connection between oral health and the well-being of the rest of your body.
In short, teeth and gums reveal the inside story of your overall health and can offer many clues on what’s going on in the rest of your body. For starters, cavities and gum disease may point to diabetes or heart disease and loose teeth could be a sign of osteoporosis. An unhealthy mouth, therefore, can be a red flag to serious health problems elsewhere in the body, according to an article published on MSNBC.com and written by Web MD the Magazine.
Additionally, Web MD reports, oral problems can actually trigger serious health issues. The inflammatory response to gum disease in the mouth, for example, can easily allow bacteria and its by-products to enter the bloodstream, traveling through the entire body. This bacteria travels through major organs and can potentially put your overall health at risk.
Emerging research indicates periodontal disease may contribute to the development of heart disease and increase risk of stroke. It may increase a woman’s risk of having a pre-term, low birth weight baby, pose a serious threat to those with diabetes, respiratory diseases and even osteoporosis, according to Web MD.
While further research is needed to identify all the risk factors, researchers agree a healthy mouth may be one link in reducing potentially serious health risks.
When there’s an underlying condition at play — more than 90% of systemic conditions such as heart disease are linked to symptoms in the mouth — your dentist can draw an important connection between your oral health and your overall health, and you can start getting everything from your teeth down to your toes back on track.
Bleeding gums, dry mouth, fungal infections and cavities might clue your dentist into a serious health issue: diabetes. And these symptoms also might suggest other serious conditions, such as HIV and leukemia, according to the Web MD article.
“Diabetes is the one disease that we know can have a direct impact on infections in the bones and gums around the teeth,” Sally Cram, DDS, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, told the magazine.
Oral Health & Heart Disease
If on your last visit to the dentist you were told you had gingivitis or gum inflammation, cavities, missing teeth, molar infections, and/or decay so severe it’s left only the roots of a tooth, your dentist may say your mouth isn’t the only thing being attacked, according to Web MD.
According to research from the American Heart Association, poor oral health could increase your chances of developing heart disease — more so than the usual suspects of cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology reports that, among five oral diseases, pericoronitis is the strongest predictor of coronary disease. Pericoronitis is an infection in the gum tissue around a tooth; gums recede and teeth can loosen as their support weakens.
“We think it’s the bacteria, or the inflammatory response from the bacteria, that might cause inflammation of the heart and more plaque buildup in the blood vessels,” Rick Kellerman, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Web MD.
Oral Health & Osteoporosis
Your dentist may tell you that osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become less dense over time as the body loses calcium, could be at the root of tooth loss.
“Bones are bones, and that includes the jaw,” says Kellerman. “As the anchor point for the teeth, if your jaw becomes less dense and weakens, losing teeth becomes more and more likely.”
Osteoporosis that weakens the jaw may lower a person’s defense against bacteria that affect the gums, which can lead to periodontal disease. Though more research is needed to establish a direct link, osteoporosis and gum disease could turn out to pack a one-two punch, leaving you with some holes to fill in what used to be a picture-perfect smile, Kellerman says.
Questions to Ask Your Dentist
Speak up the next time you’re in the dental chair. When it comes to your health, this is a good time to ask questions:
- How do my oral health habits — how often I brush and floss — affect the rest of my body, not just my gums and teeth?
- What are signs to watch out for in my mouth that might indicate something has gone awry in my body?
- What do you need to know about my health history to evaluate my oral health?
- Have you seen any warning signs of a possible serious condition that I should relay to my doctor?
5 ways Oxyfresh Supports Optimum Oral Care
Oxyfresh has carefully formulated three unique professional-grade, super-concentrated toothpastes. They last up to four times longer than commercial brands. Oxyfresh toothpastes are specifically designed to contain no artificial flavorings or colorings and are all low-abrasion formulas — preserving precious tooth enamel, root surfaces, dental restorations and cosmetic enhancements. All three formulas contain the exclusive proprietary ingredient, Oxygene®, which safely and completely destroys odors at their source!
Soothing Oxyfresh Dental Gels
For added gum protection, Oxyfresh Dental Gels will strengthen, condition and deodorize your gums.
Super Relief Formula: Helps heal with folic acid. This formula also has Oxyfresh’s patented odor-eliminating combination of zinc and Oxygene® with a super-fresh wintergreen flavor.
Fluoride Formula: Also with Oxygene®, helps reduce tooth sensitivity, fight cavities and assists in strengthening tooth enamel.
Oolitt® Tongue Scrapers
The tongue has many fissures and grooves that can trap odor-causing bacteria. Studies show brushing the tongue removes 45 percent of these bacteria. Using a tongue scraper can remove more than 75 percent of the VSCs that cause bad breath.
Non-Staining, Alcohol Free Oxyfresh Mouthwashes
While most commercial mouthwashes color their products for enhanced shelf appeal, these dyes can actually stain teeth and costly cosmetic work. That’s why you won’t find any dyes in Oxyfresh mouthwashes. Our mouthwashes are also alcohol free so they won’t dry the mouth, which can lead to bad breath.