Oral Health and Your Body

As the saying goes, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” However, for dentists like Dr. Tom Trinkner, it’s more accurate to say that our mouths serve as a window – or even a door – into our overall health. Our oral health can often reflect systemic issues affecting our entire body. In contrast, poor oral hygiene can lead to severe systemic conditions. Our bodies host an ecosystem of living organisms, including bacteria in our mouths. Most of these bacteria are harmless if we maintain regular oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice daily and flossing. However, under certain circumstances, these microorganisms can escalate minor dental problems into major systemic illnesses.

Oral Health and Your Body

Oral Health Affecting Systemic Conditions

Research has established links between poor oral health and serious medical conditions such as endocarditis—a condition where infection from one part of your body spreads through your bloodstream to your heart’s lining—clogged arteries, heart disease, and strokes. Furthermore, studies have shown that expectant mothers with poor oral health may risk giving birth prematurely.

The Oral-Systemic Connection

Conversely, about 90% of all systemic medical conditions manifest themselves within our mouths in some way or another. As a result, maintaining good dental hygiene is essential for preserving healthy teeth and early detection of potentially life-threatening diseases. Gum disease (periodontitis) is common among uncontrolled diabetes patients; mouth lesions could indicate autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS; lost teeth might signal osteoporosis—a condition where bones become weak—and declining oral health could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s Disease onset.

Maintaining Good Oral Health

To protect your overall well-being through good dental hygiene practices, brush at least twice daily or after meals, floss regularly to remove plaque, and stay properly hydrated. This helps rinse away excess food and neutralize some of the enamel-destroying acids in your diet. A healthy, low-sugar diet is also recommended. Most importantly, scheduling regular appointments with your dentist can help address any dental issues promptly before they escalate into systemic problems.

Common Dental Concerns

Some common oral health concerns include gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), missing teeth, tooth sensitivity due to various reasons such as tooth decay or fractured teeth, dry mouth often caused by medications or certain health conditions, and Oropharyngeal cancer, which affects any area within the oral cavity, including lips, gums, cheek lining, etc. Each of these conditions has its unique symptoms. All underline the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home.

For example, brushing twice a day and cleaning between your teeth daily. You should also schedule regular check-ups with your dentist for early detection and treatment.  Our mouths are not just for eating and speaking. They provide an insight into our overall health status. By taking care of our oral health through proper hygiene practices and regular dental checkups, we’re not only ensuring a healthier smile but potentially protecting ourselves from serious systemic diseases as well.