Oral Health

Oral Health: Mind Body Connection

Did you know that your patient’s oral health has a big impact on the well-being of their entire body? For years, medical specialists have kept their work separated, focusing only on the condition they’re trained to treat rather than seeing the bigger picture.

Times have changed, however. Now, medical researchers and professionals understand that patients who develop gum disease are 40 percent more likely to have some other chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. For that reason, you may begin considering referring your patients who suffer from gum disease to other specialists to ensure they haven’t developed other conditions. But, how does that work? How does your patients’ oral health impact their entire body?

Diabetes

Oral health’s connection to diabetes is thought to be one of the strongest connections between the mouth and the body. When your patient’s ability to control blood sugar levels weakens then they have diminished circulation and poorer wound healing. Patients who suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease and osteoporosis because high levels of blood sugar contribute to ideal environments for harmful oral bacteria to grow. This relationship is, unfortunately, two-fold. The constant periodontal inflammation profoundly affects multiple tissues.  Because of this, always make sure you ask about your patient’s medical history and adjust your treatment accordingly, avoiding extensive dental surgery until their diabetes is controlled. You should take the time to explain this connection to your patient and encouraging them to tend to their oral health. Hyperglycemia can be managed, just like in preventing tooth decay, through an alkaline oral cleanse and risk analysis.

Heart Disease

Studies show that 91 percent of patients with heart disease also suffer from periodontitis. Although researchers don’t know why this is, there are a few theories. The first is that heart disease and gum disease are both typically the result of smoking, an unhealthy diet, and/or excess weight.

However, some medical researchers also believe that periodontitis increases the risk of heart disease because of the inflammation it causes. The theory is that the inflammation in the mouth causes blood vessels to become inflamed, which ultimately reduces the blood flow to the heart. As you may know, this can dramatically increase a patient’s risk of heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, the fatty plaque is more likely to break off from the lining of an inflamed blood vessel and make its way to the heart or brain.

Pregnancy

Although you are aware that more men suffer from periodontitis than women, the hormonal changes a woman experiences during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk. Researchers believe there is an increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight caused by inflammation and infection.

If you have a patient who is pregnant, suggest a comprehensive periodontal exam, so you can identify whether or not she is at risk of developing gum disease.

Adopt a 5-day Alkaline Oral Cleanse for Better Health

As you can see above, the mouth is connected to our overall health much more than we think. I’ve been embracing a holistic approach to dentistry for almost 40 years to help my patients keep a healthy mouth and a healthy body. An alkaline oral cleanse can lower the risk of Type II Diabetes, pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, acid reflux as well as preventing dental decay and cervical root erosion.

You may just find adopting some holistic practices in your office, may help your patients recognize problems earlier and truly understand the importance of taking care of their oral health.

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Dr. Lewis Gross
Dr. Lewis Gross