From Mouth to Body: Discussing Oral-Systemic Health

While an aching and/or damaged tooth can significantly affect your quality of life, the connection between your dental health and your physical wellbeing (or oral-systemic health) go far beyond discomfort. When most dental issues arise, like tooth decay and gum disease, it’s due to an excessive amount of bacteria overwhelming your teeth and gums (in the form of sticky dental plaque). As Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron explain, these same microorganisms can also wreak havoc with your body’s other vital tissues if they’re introduced to your blood stream, such as through infected and bleeding teeth or gums.

The Key Players

Not all oral bacteria are dangerous. In fact, experts have identified and classified over 700 different kinds of bacteria in your mouth, and only a select few of them are singled out as harmful. In studies concerning oral-systemic health, scientists have discovered that one mouth germ, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, is especially dangerous because of its ability to evade your immune system. P. gingivalis is a leading contributor to inflammatory gum disease; the bacteria produce molecules that help them slip past your immune defenses, particularly its inflammatory response. The result is rampant, unchecked swelling and inflammation in your gums as your body hunts down the malicious microbes. When present in other tissues, P. gingivalis can also incite inflammation, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic systemic health conditions.

Protect Your Dental and Heart Health

Though a good dental hygiene routine won’t prevent major diseases from affecting your body, it can seriously reduce your risk of such diseases by eliminating a major risk factor (poor dental health). Besides brushing your teeth twice every day and flossing between them at least once, be sure to visit Dr. Wright and Dr. Heron at least once every six months for a comprehensive dental checkup and cleaning. Your visit will allow us to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums of bacterial plaque and tartar, as well as check for signs that trouble is brewing so we can treat it early and prevent it from becoming a serious issue.


As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.