Healthy Mouth = Healthy Body

It’s been said that the eyes are the win­dows to the soul. More and more research is show­ing the mouth is the win­dow to good health. Links have been estab­lished between poor oral health and mal­adies rang­ing from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease to osteo­poro­sis. More and more infor­ma­tion is com­ing to light, indi­cat­ing that one way to ensure good over­all health is to take care of your mouth.

Set­ting the Stage

The mouth is a hang-out for bac­te­ria. In fact, there are more bac­te­ria in your mouth than there are peo­ple liv­ing on Planet Earth. Most of them are harm­less and even help with bod­ily processes like diges­tion. A few of them, how­ever, are rowdy, harm­ful bacteria.

Under the nor­mal run of things, the body’s nat­ural defenses along with reg­u­lar oral care are enough to keep the bad bac­te­ria in check. How­ever, poor oral care or den­tal pro­ce­dures that reduce saliva flow can throw off the bac­te­r­ial bal­ance and cause infec­tion. This, in turn, makes it eas­ier for bac­te­ria to enter the blood­stream. And that is bad news.

The Malev­o­lent Seven

Here’s a list of seven health con­di­tions that have links to poor oral health.

  1. Endo­cardi­tis – Bac­te­ria from the mouth com­bined with a weak immune sys­tem or a dam­aged heart valve can lead to infec­tion in other parts of the body. Endo­cardi­tis occurs when the inside lin­ing of the heart gets infected.
  2. Car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease – Some research points to oral bac­te­ria as a pos­si­ble cause of heart dis­ease, stroke, and clogged arteries.
  3. Pre­ma­ture birth and low birth weight
  4. Dia­betes – Inflam­ma­tion in the mouth seems to weaken the body’s abil­ity to con­trol blood sugar.
  5. Alzheimer’s dis­ease – Peo­ple who lose teeth before the age of 35 have a higher risk of suf­fer­ing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  6. Osteo­poro­sis – This dis­ease, which causes bones to become weak and brit­tle, has been linked to peri­odon­tal bone loss and tooth loss. Min­eral loss that accom­pa­nies osteo­poro­sis can leave teeth more sus­cep­ti­ble to oral bacteria.
  7. Leukemia – This form of can­cer can first man­i­fest itself as swollen, bleed­ing gums.

Pro­tect Your­self Before You Wreck Your Health

Tak­ing care of your mouth isn’t that dif­fi­cult. There are a few very sim­ple steps that can ensure good oral health.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Replace your tooth­brush every 3 – 4 months.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Don’t use tobacco. If you do, make sure you see your den­tist regularly.
  • Sched­ule reg­u­lar den­tal check up every six months.