We like to say our life's work is to help make better smiles, but we know we provide more value to our patients than that. Some people think oral and overall health are separate concerns. To be blunt, they're wrong. Your mouth is the body's primary entry point for the nutrition and oxygen needed for survival. From generations of caring for patients, we know firsthand good oral health is a cornerstone of one's overall wellness. Unfortunately, separating the two, or worse, neglecting one's oral health, adversely impacts one's overall health in very tangible ways. Here, we will explain this vital relationship.
The mouth is both the primary access point into the body and an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. There are approximately six million bacteria present in a typical person's oral cavity. Most are harmless or even beneficial, or at least well-controlled by our natural immunity defenses as long as we practice good oral hygiene. But if oral health is neglected, bacteria can multiply, enter the bloodstream, and spread to other parts of the body.
The Mayo Clinic reports that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease contributes to any number of unhealthy conditions:
An Ounce of Prevention...
Studies show regular preventive care can help stop the progression of oral and gum diseases, reducing the risks associated with heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy.
Over the years, we've learned the mouth tells us a lot about what's happening in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 90% of all common diseases have oral symptoms. For example, mucosal lesions or sores are common among people who have HIV/AIDS. Diligent oral care may help with the early detection and treatment of HIV/AIDS and many other conditions.
The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) reports the importance of oral hygiene extends beyond individual well-being. The problems caused by poor oral health affect society at large. Common community impacts include:
Our intention here is not to scare you. We want to be more than your trusted dental care professional. We consider ourselves wellness partners with our patients, indeed a key member of their health care provider team. Sure, helping make great smiles has inspired us and our work over the years, but we also understand the vital role we play in our patients' overall quality of life.