Healthy Mouth-Healthy Body
There is a definitive connection there! Your overall health and well being is correlated to your oral health. If you have inflammation in your mouth it causes your body to manage it on a systemic level. Chronic inflammation (that is not associated with the bodies healing process) damages the body and causes illness.
What does oral inflammation look like? Bleeding. Swelling. Ok, this is a little gross but we have to say it— Pus.
Wouldn’t I know that I have that going on in my mouth? No, not necessarily. When it reaches an exacerbated level, yes, you do know. But often, we as clinicians are the ones to inform our patients of bleeding, swelling or pus. Healthy gums do not bleed with flossing. Even during a periodontal screening exam, when we are using instruments under your gum to measure periodontal health, your gums should not bleed. There are a few exceptions, for example; a patient taking a blood thinner is going to have more overall bleeding.
What factors contribute to inflammation in my mouth? Chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, auto-immune disorders and obviously, periodontal disease are big factors. Mal-aligned teeth that are difficult to clean, poor fitting dentures that continuously rub against tissue, open contacts between teeth and certain medications can also contribute to chronic inflammation in the mouth. Another interesting factor is DIET. Most grains increase insulin which causes your body to release Leptin— which has a strong association with inflammation. On the flip side— chronic inflammation is also strongly suspected as being the root cause for many conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and many cancers. Carbohydrate foods also influence the inflammatory process. In the body, chemical reactions between the sugars and protein produce pro-inflammatory compounds called AGEs (advanced glycation end products).
What can I do to reduce inflammation in my mouth and overall? –Reduce inflammatory foods in your diet. Reduce bread, white potatoes, crackers, chips and other similar snack foods. Check out drweil.com for information. -Exercise! – Step up your daily oral disease control. Consider adding a water irrigator (Waterpik) to your routine. We are happy to talk more with you about this when you are visiting the office.
Until next time!