The Oral-Systemic Connection

It’s a Two Way Street

Positive pregnant blond woman  checks her teeth“What happens in the mouth can affect our body and what happens in our body can affect our mouth”

At first glance this seems like a pretty simple and straight-forward statement; however, having worked as an oral health care professional for over 30 years, I can tell you that most of us have not approached our clients with this holistic mind-set.  This is now beginning to change as new research confirms that the oral-systemic connection exists and must be considered when assessing and treatment planning.

First, let’s look at the street from one direction; “What happens in the mouth can affect our body”.

According to numerous studies done in main-stream dentistry many of which have been done by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the United States, there appears to be a direct link between oral health and the following:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Pulmonary Disease
  • Fetal Development
  • Diabetes
  • Orthopedic Implant Failure
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney Disease

However, the mechanism of exactly how this occurs is not yet fully understood.   It is believed that either the bacteria from the mouth and/or the inflammation they cause get into the saliva and blood stream and travel to other areas of the body creating further problems.    Interestingly, in many of these studies, it would appear that when oral health care improved as a result of professional and personal intervention, that risk for the disease correspondingly decreased.

Traveling further down this street there is also the issue of the effect of various dental procedures and materials on not only the mouth but the entire body.  Many holistically-minded professionals are challenging the effects of mercury fillings, root canals, fluoride and even braces on our immune systems.  This is a very controversial area and my advice is for everyone to educate themselves especially if you are experiencing systemic health issues.   I would at this point like to recommend a specific book that I find is extremely helpful for both the general public and professionals.  “Whole Body Dentistry” written by Dr. Mark Breiner can help you discover the missing piece to better health.  I keep multiple copies for sale and loan in my office and believe that providing this resource is an important part of helping to educate the public and improve not just their oral health but their overall health.

If anyone would like a copy of this book please send me an email and I will be happy to mail it to you.  For those of you who are not in the general area, you can find a link to purchase the book by clicking here.

Next week we will take a look at this two-way street from the opposite direction; at how the body can in turn affect our oral health and what possible health issues might be presenting themselves first in your mouth.

In the meantime, do you have a story to share about the oral-system connection.  I love getting feedback.  I have commentluv here on my blog. That is a plugin for bloggers. If you leave a comment, you can leave a link back to your own blog.  But you don’t have to be a blogger to leave a comment, I love to hear from everyone.

Until next time,

Kathleen

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