Oral Health Connection: The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Dentists have long recognized an oral health connection to overall health. The body’s systems are interrelated and affect one another. Long-term dental problems impact the immune system and other metabolic functions. It is the view of the American Dental Association that infections often enter the body through the mouth.
The interconnectedness of bodily systems
A long-term infection in the gum taxes the body’s immune system. Fluids and toxins in an abscess can leak, spreading traces through the blood and lymphatic systems. A toothache can deplete the person’s reserves, weakening them against other health problems. Due to simple proximity, infections can spread between the mouth, nose, ears and eyes.
Ears, eyes, nose and throat
There are a lot of organs crammed into the lower half of the human skull. The eyes, ears, nose and throat are all complex systems in very close proximity. There are direct channels between the eyes and nose, ears and eyes and of course the throat and the nose. An infection of any of these closely related systems can spread to all the rest.
Dealing specifically with the mouth and throat, infections of the teeth, gums and jawbone place strain on the immune system. This, in turn, weakens the body’s ability to resist other infections. Infections can also begin in the mouth. Then they migrate to elsewhere in the body. The tonsils play a major role in preventing mouth and throat infections spreading. People who have had their tonsils removed are at a much higher risk of oral infections spreading into the chest.
What is a “healthy mouth”?
Complete health dentists try to define a baseline for oral health. This includes a checklist of health for the gums, teeth and jaw. It also considers daily habits and cosmetic appearance. The main indicators that a person can check themselves are firm gums and an absence of plaque and tartar. A dentist will also look for bleeding of the gums, loose teeth and signs of decay. Any of these can show other associated or underlying problems through the oral health connection.
The ADA considers that the oral health connection presents a clear correlation to other health issues. They have gone as far as calling the mouth the “portal” to the body for infections. Besides infections migrating from the mouth, poor dental health may be a symptom of other ailments. The North Carolina School of Dentistry has found that people with gum disease also present a much higher risk of heart disease.
Learn more about the oral health connection
Your complete health dentist can tell you more about the oral health connection. Consult with your dentist to learn more about maintaining good oral hygiene for better overall health. The relationship between healthy teeth and a healthy body is noted by the ADA and other dental associations. Your complete health dentist can tell you more and offer personalized advice on dental care. For good overall health, maintain good dental health and daily habits.
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