Southlake Dentist on the Oral-Systemic Connection

Many people don’t consider oral health a part of their systemic wellbeing. However, numerous studies throughout the advancement of dentistry have shown that a patient’s mouth is not as distinct from his/her physical health as many believe. In fact, a healthy mouth is a vital component of your continued overall wellbeing. As your Southlake dentist explains, the food you eat, the beverages you consume, and most of the air you inhale all pass through your mouth before entering your body. Therefore, it should be no surprise that what you put in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. By the same token, the elements that cause most oral health issues can also theoretically enter your body, wreaking the same destruction that they do within your oral cavity. Experts believe there are numerous ways that the oral-systemic connection can affect your health, but most (if not all) share one thing in common—the spread of oral bacteria.

Oral Health and Your Heart

A common oral-systemic theory involves your oral health and heart health. One of the most common causes of death is heart complications (i.e., heart attack, atherosclerosis, etc.). A contributing factor to poor heart health is inflammation. When your mouth is infected, diseased, or injured, the damaged oral tissue can provide a convenient pathway for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If the bacteria responsible for gum disease and inflammation (the microbe, Porphyromonas gingivalis) were to enter your body, they could incite inflammation in other areas of the body, as well. This theory is supported by studies that have shown patients with poor periodontal health are at a significantly higher risk of developing heart health issues.

What Else Are You Inhaling?

Damaged oral tissues aren’t the only pathway into your body. Many respiratory infections, such as severe bronchitis and pneumonia, are caused when bacteria are inhaled into the lower respiratory tract. Research suggests that patients with moderate to severe periodontal disease are more at risk for lung infections than patients with healthy gums, and experts believe that the inhalation of excessive oral bacteria may be a contributing factor.

About Gregory Wright, DDS:

As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He is happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment with your cosmetic dentist, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.