Posted by: Eco-Dentistry Association | January 5, 2012

The Health of Your Mouth Mirrors Your Overall Health

Guest blog by EDA Member and GreenDOC Gold Certified Dr. Thomas Gent of SoLa Dental. Located in Austin, Texas, SoLa Dental focuses on the health and well-being of patients as well as the planet. Learn more about SoLa Dental on their website. 

Oral Health and Overall Health, a Symbiotic Relationship 

Your mouth is a mirror that reflects your overall health and well-being. It’s also a key determinant of your nutritional status and your self-esteem. “Oral health means more than sound teeth.  Oral health is integral to overall health,” says Donna E. Shalala in the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health.

The report, which was the first that the U.S. Surgeon General has undertaken to assess the nation’s oral health, is intended to “alert Americans to the full meaning of oral health and its importance to general health and well-being.”

But what is oral health?

First of all, the word “oral” refers to the mouth, which includes not only the teeth and gums and their supportive tissues, but also the roof and the floor of the mouth (the hard and soft palate), the tongue, the lining of the mouth and the throat (called the mucosa), the lips, the salivary glands, the upper and lower jaws, and the chewing muscles. Oral health also involves the branches of the nervous system, the immune system and the vascular system (blood vessels) that serve this part of the body.

So consequently, oral health means more than just being free from cavities and gum disease. Oral health, the report states, means overall health in the tissues that “allow us to speak and smile; sigh and kiss; smell, taste, touch, chew and swallow; cry out in pain; and convey a world of feelings and emotions through facial expressions.”

Oral health and overall health—an intricate interrelationship

The health of the oral tissues is indicative of the health of organs and systems throughout your body. Your dentists and other healthcare providers can gather an enormous amount of information about your overall health simply by examining these tissues.

  • A thorough oral exam can uncover nutritional deficiencies, microbial infections, immune disorders and some forms of cancer.
  • Clues to a disease can be discovered by analyzing saliva under a microscope.
  • Facial nerves have counterparts elsewhere in the body.
  • The jaw bones and jaw joint function like other musculoskeletal regions of the body.

Conversely, research is showing us that disease within the mouth—especially periodontal (gum) disease—is connected to ailments throughout the body. Infections in the mouth are a gateway for disease-causing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and provoke a number of diseases, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Respiratory infection
  • Diabetes
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Low birth weight or premature births

The answer?

Regular dental visits allow many problems to be prevented, and the rest to be treated the most successfully and conservatively. Don’t wait until you are in pain! By then it is usually a much bigger problem. Remember, we care about your overall health and well-being, not just your teeth.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. […] means that dental professionals have an opportunity to make a big dent in this voracious and awful cancer, but only if we’re willing to ask our patients about their […]

  2. Intresting video of how dentistry’s good intentions of providing oral health may put patient’s at risk. Infection control protocol is important: http://www.aquasept.com/whatistheproblem.php

    This is a must read article for all dentists:
    http://worldental.org/dentists/time-bomb-playing-fire-pneumonia-dental-unit-waterline/6415/

  3. A stomach ulcer can be extremely painful. They generally develop when the membrane that lines the digestive system erodes. This can be due to a range of causes and factors. Before the development of antibiotic treatment, stomach ulcers were life-threatening conditions. The only life-saving treatment available was for large sections of the digestive tract to be removed. Failure to do this would mean the person with the ulcer may die from a haemorrhage…

    Remember to take a peek at our very own webpage
    <,http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/brown-seaweed-supplement/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: