The idea that your oral health can influence your physical wellbeing is not a new one. In fact, the oral-systemic connection has been the subject of myriad studies across the globe, and the results continue to highlight the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy mouth. Aside from affecting your physical health, however, your mouth can also warn you of impending systemic illness, allowing you to treat potentially fatal conditions in their early stages and improve your chances of successful treatment. Polk City dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, explores what your mouth can tell you about your health, and how your health can be influenced by the state of your mouth.
Health Awareness at the Dentist’s Office
Many people are aware that visiting the dentist’s office at least once every six months is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth, but fewer people realize that a comprehensive dental checkup can reveal more than just tooth decay and gum disease. In some instances, irregularities within the oral cavity can precede other physical symptoms of serious diseases, manifesting as lesions, ulcers, or other visible disturbances. Oral and other forms of cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases, liver disease, HIV/AIDS, and many other chronic diseases can be detected by their initial influence on your mouth’s soft tissues.
A Profound Connection
One of the main tenets of the oral-systemic connection involves the mechanisms behind dental diseases, primarily gum disease, and their influence on other areas of your body. For instance, gum disease begins when bacteria form plaque and accumulate along your gum line. These germs can manipulate your immune system, causing excessive inflammation of your gingival (gum) tissue. When the integrity of your mouth’s tissues are compromised, they can provide a convenient path for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream, potentially wreaking havoc with other areas of your body, as well. One study suggests that the germ responsible for gum inflammation, called Porphyromonas gingivalis, can accelerate the inflammation associated with atherosclerosis, a disease that affects your arteries and heart health.
Oral-Systemic Health in Polk City
To learn more about the oral-systemic connection and keeping your mouth clean for your health’s sake, schedule an appointment with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. Located in the 50226 area, we proudly welcome families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.