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What is the mouth-body connection?

Mouth Body Connection

“The mouth is the window to your body.” is probably something that most of us haven’t heard before. (And it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “The eyes are the window to your soul”!)

But for oral health professionals, this is one of the most important reasons to care for one’s oral health.

You may be wondering what the connection of the mouth to our body is. Believe it or not, your oral health correlates with your body’s overall health and wellness.  This link is what we call the “mouth-body connection”.

If you want to know how our mouths’ health is connected to our bodies, our Dentist in Malvern is here to explain this connection and why you should know about it.

Dentist Malvern treating patient

What is the “mouth-body connection”?

In the past few decades, medical professionals have established the connection between oral health and physical and mental well-being. They have figured out how proper dental hygiene (and routine check-ups) can maintain the body’s health.

One of the main players in the “mouth-body connection” is our gums. Think of your gums as the portal to the rest of your body.

When you don’t take care of your gums, bacteria will start attacking them, making you more susceptible to infections and inflammation.

When gum disease or periodontitis develops, bacteria and germs can pass through the mouth’s systemic tissues. This not only causes common dental issues but also enters your bloodstream and triggers illnesses and diseases in your body.

How is the mouth and oral health connected to heart disease?

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology concluded that 91% of patients with cardiovascular diseases suffered from moderate to severe cases of periodontitis.

In the same study, they discovered that periodontitis increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Gum disease causes inflammation in the blood vessels, which prevents the flow of blood in the body. This then causes high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke.

The correlation of the mouth to heart disease should not be taken lightly given that Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally.

What’s the link between the mouth and diabetes?

We all know that diabetes is a serious and incurable disease. Those suffering from diabetes are far more susceptible to infections, including periodontal infections.

When periodontal infection occurs, the inflammation that manifests can affect the way the body manages blood sugar.

Sugar levels increase, affecting the amount of time the body has to function with high blood sugar.

Those suffering from diabetes should stay away from smoking. People aged 45+ who have the disease are 20 times more likely to develop periodontal disease than those who do not smoke.

What is the connection between the mouth and pregnancy?

Dentist Malvern Treating Teeth Of Pregnant Woman

During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur in the body. These changes in pregnant women increase the risk of developing health problems, including gingivitis and periodontitis.

Infection and inflammation can affect a fetus’s development. This is why women should visit their dentists for an oral gum exam before or during pregnancy!

In a study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely compared to those with healthy gums.

 Oral health and respiratory diseases

Recent studies have shown a link between oral health and respiratory diseases. Bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to conditions such as pneumonia, especially in older adults. 

This type of pneumonia is known as aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when foreign materials such as food, saliva, or stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs. The bacteria present in these materials can then cause infections in the lung tissue.

Chronic mouth breathing can exacerbate this risk by drying out oral tissues, reducing saliva production, and allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate. This increases the likelihood of these bacteria being inhaled into the lungs and causing infections.

Maintaining good oral hygiene reduces the risk of respiratory infections by preventing harmful bacteria from reaching the lungs​​.

For more information about mouth breathing, check out our articles about the issues it could cause children and adults.

The impact of oral health on cognitive function

Emerging research suggests a connection between oral health and cognitive function. Poor oral health, particularly gum disease, has been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Chronic inflammation from gum disease can contribute to brain inflammation, affecting cognitive abilities. Ensuring good oral hygiene may help protect brain health as we age​​.

Oral health and rheumatoid arthritis

There is growing evidence that poor oral health may be linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The bacteria responsible for gum disease can trigger an immune response that exacerbates RA symptoms. 

Maintaining good oral hygiene and treating gum disease can help manage RA symptoms and improve the overall quality of life for those with the condition​.

How can I maintain good oral and overall health?

To maintain a healthy connection between mouth and body, we must take care of our oral health. In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, eat more superfoods like milk, cheese, and nuts.

Also, remember to visit your dentist regularly! Dental Care Group is Malvern’s trusted family and emergency dentist for all dental treatments, including routine check-ups. Book your appointment today at (03) 9509 1500, or schedule an appointment today!

Book an appointment now!

If you have any questions, please feel free to fill out the form below or give us a call. Our friendly and experienced team look forward to hearing from you!

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