Understanding the Mouth-Body Connection

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Much has been made of the mind-body connection and the notion that positive emotions and coping mechanisms contribute to good overall health. However, a new brand of studies focuses on the “mouth-body connection,” in which experts investigate the relationship between periodontal disease and a host of conditions affecting the greater health of the body. While the link between oral and overall health is not yet fully understood, evidence suggests an association between gum disease and other conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

If you have concerns about the relationship between gum disease and overall health, or if you think you may be suffering symptoms of periodontal disease, don’t hesitate to contact the Center for Advanced Periodontal & Implant Therapy for a consultation.

Link Between Gum Disease and Overall Health 

The association between gum disease and overall health is clearly a complex one. However, scientists have found certain bacteria and proteins in both patients with heart disease and those suffering from gum disease. For example, a C-reactive protein, widely known to be a sign of inflammation, existed in both types of patients. Further, an American Heart Association committee report indicated the possibility of oral bacteria infections leading to heart disease, as mouth bacteria could get into the bloodstream during tooth brushing and other activities. While the link between gum disease and overall health has yet to be fully established, studies have shown that treating gum disease can reduce inflammation markers throughout the body.

What Is Inflammation? 

Inflammation is one of the ways in which our body tries to heal. However, chronic inflammation can actually cause more damage than the initial injury or illness. In fact, studies show that chronic inflammation may damage healthy tissue and contribute to a host of serious health problems including heart attack, stroke and cancer. Reducing inflammation may help to protect, not just your oral health, but the overall health of your body.

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Health

You can take steps to reduce inflammation and protect your oral health. Board-certified periodontists with unique expertise in treating periodontal disease, Dr. Alexandre Aalam and Dr. Alina Krivitsky recommend the following tips for excellent oral—and overall—health:

Brush and Floss Regularly. You should brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Doing this helps remove plaque that can cause inflammation and gum disease. You should also floss regularly and replace your toothbrush ever couple of months to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

Consume a Healthy Diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains and avoid sugary foods and late-night snacks. You may also want to stop smoking, as tobacco products can impede your ability to fight infection and inflammation.

Visit a Periodontist. One of the best steps you can take to ensure good oral and overall health is to visit a periodontist for regular exams. Taking action against gum disease early can help prevent the condition from worsening and may help protect the overall health of your body.

Contact Us Today

If you are experiencing distressing periodontal symptoms, such as chronic bad breath, bleeding gums or tooth pain, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Aalam or Dr. Krivitsky. Both professors at USC School of Dentistry, Drs. Aalam and Krivitsky utilize the most advanced techniques for treating your teeth and gums. Call (310) 299-8329 for an appointment.

 

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