A toothache reveals a much bigger health problem
Today, I want to take a moment and introduce you to Alice. Alice was a lovely lady who used to fill her days as an artist; but lately, her health has kept her from doing all of the things she loves most.
Alice would wake up in the morning, barely able to drag herself out of bed. She was exhausted all day long and couldn’t muster the energy to complete even the most simple tasks.
Her mood was low, and she stopped painting. She couldn’t find the desire to pull out her easel and paint brushes, and she had no inspiration to create her beautiful artwork.
Her medications were not working well, and her health was steadily declining. Plus, Alice was a dialysis patient, and every time the doctors attempted to unhook her from the dialysis machines after a treatment session, she would bleed considerably. The doctors became increasingly worried that something more serious was going on.
Finally, Alice awoke one morning with a toothache. She was in pain and immediately rushed to a dentist’s office. She hadn’t seen a dentist for years because nothing hurt. The dentist took one look at Alice’s mouth, and it was clearly evident that she had a dental disaster.
Unfortunately, Alice’s teeth were severely decayed with advanced gum disease. Years of poor oral hygiene had left them riddled with disease, and there was no way to save them. Her dentist had to extract all but two teeth. She was placed on a regimen of antibiotics and followed closely for a few days.
While Alice lost most of her teeth, the resulting outcome to her overall health was extraordinary. Once the diseased teeth were removed and antibiotics were completed, Alice felt significantly better. Not only was her oral pain gone, but she found she had regained the pep in her step!
She was waking up with more energy and began painting again. Her mood was brighter; she had better focus and felt better able to power through her busy days. Her doctors also noticed a change in how she was responding to her medication and saw an immediate improvement in her overall health. Her dialysis went much more smoothly, and she no longer bled excessively when the doctors unhooked her from the machines.
It seems Alice’s issues were all stemming from uncontrolled infections that had begun in her mouth and had spread throughout the rest of her body. Once the root cause of these infections was addressed, her health improved significantly. While Alice may have lost most of her teeth, she regained her health and her life.
You need to have a healthy mouth to have a healthy body.
If Alice’s family physician had taken the time to check her mouth, they would have been able to easily see the condition of her teeth. They could have immediately sent her to see a dentist and had any issues corrected before they had the chance to spiral out of control. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t realize how important having a healthy mouth is and the role this plays in having a healthy body.
Did you know that infections in the mouth can spread to other areas of the body through the bloodstream? Studies have shown that uncontrolled dental infections and periodontal disease can cause:
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks
- Type 2 diabetes
- Premature births
- Low birth weights
- And much more…
By taking proper care of our teeth and practicing good oral hygiene, we can help prevent these diseases and live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
How can I practice good oral hygiene?
Good oral hygiene is the key to keeping your teeth healthy and your mouth smiling. Most of us only spend a few minutes a day quickly brushing our teeth, but this just isn’t enough to achieve the optimal level of cleanliness our teeth need. It is imperative that you focus on removing all plaque and bacteria from each surface of every tooth every time you brush. Carefully clean between your teeth with floss, tiny interproximal brushes or Directed Water Irrigation, and rinse your mouth out well afterward. It is much better to spend 10 minutes doing a thorough job once daily than to rush through your oral care routine multiple times per day.
There is no right or wrong method to practicing good oral hygiene, as long as the result is sparkling clean teeth. You can use a manual toothbrush or an electric one and can select dental floss or a water flosser — whichever you prefer. Just be sure to put in the time and effort, and your teeth (and entire body!) will thank you!
The Dental Medical Convergence is a non-profit organization that is making leaps and bounds to spread awareness about the importance of thorough oral care. They work directly with primary care physicians to bridge the gap between dental and medical care. They hope that by doing so, they can make a significant improvement on how all medical professionals handle oral health. When doctors and dentists can work together, patients worldwide will experience better overall health and brighter, happier smiles.