Founder of The Dental Medical Convergence, Dr. Chuck Reinertsen, likes to say that the mouth is the front door to the body, and it’s an open door. That’s why it’s so easy for bad bacteria to enter your body. Mounting evidence suggests that many diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and pregnancy complications can result from poor oral health. You may be surprised to learn that 90% of dental infections involve absolutely no pain, even as they wreak havoc on the rest of your body.
Have you ever brushed your teeth and spit out blood? If your gums are bleeding, it may be due to inflammation. It indicates that there’s a hole in your gums where the blood came out, and that’s now an open door for bacteria to enter. If bad bacteria work their way into the hole in your gums, your bloodstream will carry it everywhere. Now the bad stuff is on the loose inside your body.
That bad bacteria can do a lot of damage over time, but most people don’t experience any symptoms right away. By the time something starts to hurt, it’s too late; the damage is done.
Conditions linked to oral health
A report from the Mayo Clinic explains how poor oral health contributes to a number of conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease
Research shows that inflammation and oral bacterial infections can lead to heart disease, clogged arteries, and strokes. Researchers report 50% of heart attacks come from dental infections.
This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves that can occur when bacteria and germs from one part of your body (such as your mouth) spread into your bloodstream and infect certain areas of your heart.
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Researchers have connected periodontitis, a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue around the teeth and destroys the bone supporting the teeth, with low birth weight and premature births.
Gum disease and diabetes have a bidirectional relationship. Notable gum disease correlates to comparably worse diabetes symptoms. Conversely, those with healthy gums tend to find that their diabetes is much easier to control.
This disease relates to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
Bacteria from your mouth can hitch a ride on water vapor and flow directly into your lungs to cause respiratory diseases.
What you can do
Dr. Chuck says the best thing you can do is keep your mouth as healthy as possible. That way, you decrease the number of paths that harmful bacteria can take to get into your body.
Here’s some not-so-trivial trivia you may not know: Cleaning your teeth once a day the right way is better than doing it two to three times a day the wrong way. Visiting a dentist twice a year for a tooth cleaning and exam is another way to care for your teeth and protect your overall health. The good news: Most dental insurance covers biannual healthy teeth cleanings, which means you pay nothing out of pocket. When you take into account the extra costs of emergency dental visits and doctors’ bills to manage deteriorating general health, the best thing you can do for your overall health and your wallet is to take care of your dental health.