Did You Know That Your Mouth and Your Body Have an Association?
Yes, I know you are all thinking “well of course they do, what a silly question”. But did you know that your mouth can show signs of what is happening to your body and vice versa.
Your mouth is connected to the rest of the body by an intricate system of blood vessels, lymphatic tissues and nerves. Therefore the same blood that flows through your body also flows through your mouth, teeth and gums.
There has been huge amounts of research which proves the association of the health of your body with the health of your mouth.
But first let’s talk about gum disease on its own.
It may seem fairly normal to many of us that when we brush or floss our teeth that our gums bleed especially for those who it happens very easily. However just because it happens, doesn’t mean that it is the norm. For example, if your hand just started bleeding when washing your hands, wouldn’t you think something was wrong? You would go straight to the doctors wouldn’t you? So how come when it comes to bleeding gums, many people seem to dismiss it and say ‘it is always like that’?
Bleeding is a way of the body telling us that we have gum disease. WOW GUM DISEASE! Sounds so serious! Well it is. Many people just haven’t been properly educated about it which is why we are talking about it today.
There are many of us who are affected by gum disease but many of us are also unaware of it because it is an almost painless disease. Bleeding gums show us that we have a dental condition called gingivitis which is the mild form of gum disease. Many of us at some stage do suffer from it, but it is easily reversible with good oral hygiene.
If gingivitis is not treated, it then gets worse and becomes a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. Periodontitis is the inflammation of the tissue surrounding your teeth which results in the destruction of the bone and tissues that keep your teeth healthy in your mouth. This presents as a space between the gum and the tooth which widens and deepens over time if we still have poor oral hygiene. This in turn allows even more bacteria to breed and enter your blood stream. This is why gums tend to look red and puffy as the bacteria is irritating the gums and the puffier the gums get, the more protected the bacteria becomes allowing it to spread.
So unless we are able to get down into that space between the tooth and the gum to clean it from all that bad bacteria, the gums will get more infected to a point where the tooth will lose all its supporting structure and fall out.
If there is an infection in your mouth, this can then spread via your blood stream to the rest of your body where the bacteria from the mouth infection can cause or increase inflammation in the body. This is particularly a serious problem when it comes to joint replacements and those of us who have certain types of heart conditions. But what does that mean for the rest of us who seemingly have good health.
Gum disease been linked to:
- Heart disease
- Preterm birth
Gum disease creates more inflammation which leads to illness and disease in the body which creates even more inflammation. More inflammation in the body then accelerates and worsens gum disease. And around and around the cycle goes.
In many cases you don’t realise you have gum disease which is why it is so important to the have regular dental care, including check-ups, screening X-rays and professional dental cleaning to both assess and tend to your dental needs and treat the condition.
If you have any or all of the following please see your general dentist for advice and treatment.
- red gums especially around the margin of your teeth
- if your gums bleed or are swollen or are tender,
- if your gums are not firm against your teeth and have loosened up around your teeth,
- if your teeth are loose or there is pus present
- you have bad breathe or have a bad taste in your mouth
There is no time like the present to get a handle of the disease and reverse the detrimental effects it causes.
So the next time you think about not cleaning your teeth because you’re too tired or that flossing is just too hard, stop and consider the impact that it is having not only on your teeth and gums but on your overall health as well. So remember, brush and floss the teeth you want to keep.