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  • Joan Rothchild Hardin

For a Healthy Mouth


(Source: www.syracuseutdentistry.com)

ORAL HEALTH AS A WINDOW TO OVERALL HEALTH Thousands of studies have linked oral disease to systemic disease. Meaning, the health of your mouth, teeth and gums has a direct connection to health in the rest of your body. (Mercola, 8/27/2016)

Most of the billions of bacteria living in the mouth are harmless – even necessary for good health. Maintaining good oral health supports those good bacteria and enables the body’s natural defenses to keep bad bacteria under control. But, without proper oral hygiene, pathogenic bacteria can reach levels that lead to tooth decay and gum disease – and also create disease elsewhere in the body.

Additionally, medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants reduce saliva flow. Saliva helps wash away food particles and neutralize acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping protect against microbial invasion or overgrowth that could lead to disease. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016)

Pathogenic bacteria living in our oral cavities enter the blood stream through a variety of daily activities, such as chewing, eating, brushing and flossing. Invasive dental treatments greatly increase the risk of pathogenic bacteria’s spreading elsewhere in the body via the blood stream. (Whiteman, 2013) DISEASES LINKED TO ORAL HEALTH Poor conditions in the mouth contribute to many problems elsewhere in the body, including:

  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is a dangerous infection of the inner lining of the heart (the endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other pathogenic microbes from the mouth or elsewhere in the body spread through the bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are linked to infections and the