Why you need to care about oral health
“Guess what? The mouth is attached to the rest of the body. And though dentistry and medicine are typically separated from the very beginning of professional training, they are irrevocably linked for patients and have an impact on each other. Here’s some foundational knowledge that will help set the stage for discussing the connection between overall health and oral health: Our mouths are teeming with bacteria – mostly the good, harmless kind – and when an appropriate hygiene routine is followed, that bacteria is kept in perfect balance to keep our teeth strong and gums healthy. When that bacterial balance is thrown off track, the results can be disastrous. Yes, cavities are one consequence, but so are yeast infections and periodontal disease—i.e., inflammation of the gums and loss of the bony levels around teeth. A quick scan through any wellness magazine and medical journal will tell you that inflammation is bad news. Researchers continue to connect it to some of the worst chronic diseases physicians see in their offices today. Our mouths are a gateway into not only our respiratory system and digestive tract, but also our bloodstreams (there are a lot of surface-level blood vessels right there), so patients’ periodontal inflammation can be a harbinger of other health issues in their bodies.”
Cindy Roark is a dentist and health care executive.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “The connection between oral health and overall health.”
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