I don’t need to tell you that you are what you eat. You already know that what you put in your mouth affects the condition of your body. For example, you can have chips and dip or veggie sticks and hummus for a snack. You can choose to smoke… or not. These choices matter to your overall health. But did you also know that just the condition of your mouth plays a direct role in the health of your body? As your dentist in Leesburg, I want to help you have a healthy mouth so you can also enjoy the benefits of good general health. Read on to learn more about the connection between oral and overall health.
The Oral-Systemic Connection
The oral-systemic connection is the terminology that dentists and doctors use to describe the close link between your mouth and the rest of your body. In particular, the connection begins with oral bacteria that lead to periodontal disease.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are the beginning and advanced phases of periodontal or gum disease. Both are bacterial infections that happen as a result of inadequate oral hygiene.
The main objective of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque, the biofilm that accumulates in the mouth. Oral bacteria live in plaque.
If not eliminated with daily oral hygiene care, plaque builds up on and between your teeth and especially along the gum line. With time, plaque hardens to become tartar or calculus.
With tartar, bacteria adhere to teeth and need to be removed with professional periodontal therapy. Otherwise, the infection that is gum disease begins. Eventually, these bacteria can destroy gum, connective tissue and even bone tissue. Left untreated, advanced gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
Oral Bacteria and Your General Health
The same bacteria that can devastate teeth and gums have also been connected to several bodily diseases and illnesses. Bleeding gum tissue is one of the leading indicators of periodontal disease. When this happens, bacteria have access to the bloodstream and can travel to other parts of the body. Likewise, a deep inhalation can draw bacteria into your respiratory systems.
The conditions associated with oral bacterial infection include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Pregnancy Complications
Dental Checkups for Your Smile and Your Health
In addition to your oral hygiene routine at home, I endorse twice yearly dental checkups. At these visits, my staff and I will not only provide a professional cleaning but we’ll also carefully examine your gums for the early signs of disease: red and swollen gum tissue as well as gums that bleed when brushed or flossed.
We’ll also measure the depth of gum pockets around your teeth. Anything more than four millimeters could be an indication of gingivitis. If gum disease is present, there is periodontal therapy to stop the advance of infection and reverse the effects.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. David Groy is a family dentist in Leesburg, Virginia. He and his staff are dedicated to ensuring the health and beauty of your smile so you enjoy, confidence and overall health. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.