Everybody wants to be healthy…and here at Joseph Cochran, DDS, we think everybody deserves it! That’s why we focus so much on preventive dentistry for our patients here in Michiana.
How Your Smile Affects Your Overall Health
Our bodies are like our teeth in the sense that they are all unique and have different needs to reach ideal health. But all bodies do have at least one thing in common: They are connected to the mouth in an important way not everyone is aware of.
Decades of study now back up the mouth/body connection, sometimes referred to as the “oral-systemic” link, and prove just how significantly the health of your mouth affects the rest of you.
- An imbalance in your bite can cause pain in everything from your jaw to your back and shoulders
- Missing teeth can lead to poor nutrition and vitamin deficiencies
- Unhealthy, unattractive teeth can lead to social isolation and depression
- Changes in oral structure can be linked to sleep apnea, a condition that turns deadly if not treated
- Periodontal disease and inflammation can cause systemic inflammation, which has been linked to major issues such as heart attacks
What’s more, the health of your mouth can reflect or mirror health problems in the rest of your body:
- Lesions or ulcers in your mouth could be the first signs of Celiac Disease, Crohn’s disease, and even HIV infection
- Pale or bleeding gums could indicate anemia or other blood disorders
- Bone loss, especially in the lower jaw, could be one of the first indicators of osteoporosis
- Dry mouth can result from systemic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, autoimmune disease, and even Alzheimer’s
- Saliva can be used to test for and detect anything from hormone imbalances and environmental toxins to drug use
Clearly, keeping up with your regular dental checkups could be your body’s first line of defense.
Why Gums Matter
One of the most important ways of keeping your body healthy is by keeping your gums healthy too. Your gums do more than hold your teeth in place. Your gums are part of the oral mucosa, the mucous membranes that cover the entire interior surface of your mouth. Because these membranes are permeable, if they become infected, that infection can enter your bloodstream, leading to all kinds of illness and inflammation.
In a recent article by Live Naturally Magazine, Roger Forman, D.D.S., clinical associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, talks about just how serious periodontal disease can be: “Oral health is intimately related with overall systemic health… Chronic periodontal disease has been definitively linked to heart disease, chronic sinus infections, preterm birth, lung abscesses, exacerbation of diabetes, gastrointestinal dysfunction and other maladies.”
Preventive Care for All Ages
We want everyone from South Bend to Notre Dame and all the communities in between to experience the kind of health that comes hand-in-hand with a healthy smile. We begin seeing kids as soon as the first tooth erupts and encourage lifelong oral-health habits through every walk of life and every age, from one to 101.