Your mouth is the gateway to your body. It shows the mirror to your overall health. Your oral health offers
clues about your health as several issues in your body are reflected in your mouth while you are unaware
of them. In addition, the problems in your mouth may also affect the rest of your body. So to protect
yourself, it is crucial to be aware of the connection between your oral cavity and your body’s overall health.
The mouth-body connection
Our oral cavity is home to millions of bacteria, most of which are harmless. Our body’s natural defences,
i.e., our immune system, coupled with proper daily brushing and flossing, usually keep these bacteria
under control. However, in the absence of good oral hygiene maintenance, these bacteria may increase
exponentially to reach a level to cause oral infections like gum diseases or tooth decay. Other factors may
be responsible for this rise in bacterial levels and subsequent illness like our dietary patterns, certain
medications, conditions decreasing saliva flow, lowered immunity, etc. Our oral cavity is the entry point to
our respiratory and digestive systems. These bacteria threaten these systems.
How the health of your teeth can affect your body
Our mouth is one of the essential parts of our body. Any problem that affects your mouth can make it hard
to eat, drink, or even smile. Besides dental decay and gum diseases, other oral conditions like oral ulcers,
cold sores, oral thrush, burning mouth syndrome, or pre-cancerous lesions like leukoplakia may cause
considerable pain and suffering.
Certain conditions affect overall health, like space infections and cellulitis. When the pus from dental
infection spreads to the soft tissue spaces of your face, it is known as space infection, which can further
spread to deeper layers and progress to cellulitis. Cellulitis, if left unchecked, can turn into a life-threatening
condition as the patient encounters difficulty in breathing.
The bacteria from our oral cavity risk causing infections in other parts of our body when carried to other
systems via blood or different pathways.
The most commonly observed infection caused by oral bacteria is Infective Endocarditis. Bacteria infect
the inner lining of the heart chambers from another part of the body, such as the oral cavity. These germs
are typically carried from the mouth to the heart through blood. They get attached to some regions of the
heart and cause infection and subsequent inflammation.
This is mainly observed in people with pre-existing heart diseases. Few studies have also put forth the link
between oral bacteria and clogging of arteries which is the leading cause of stroke.
Several researchers have shown that gum diseases or periodontitis in pregnant women may lead to
premature birth and low birth weight of their babies.
Diseases that can be diagnosed from the oral cavity
Various systemic diseases manifest their symptoms in the mouth. So a quick examination by your dentist
may reveal the presence of these diseases, which you might be otherwise unaware of. These include:
• Thyroid and parathyroid diseases
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease
• Eating Disorders
• Kaposi’s Sarcoma
• Multiple myeloma
• Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
• Sjögren syndrome
• Scleroderma, etc
Whole Body Health And Your Teeth is a crucial part of your long term health. Understand the connections across your body.
Dr Hafsa Alidrissi is a dentist and a certified expert with oral health and digital dentistry in Dubai and can advise you on best practices regarding looking after your mouth and teeth.
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You can find out more information about caring for your teeth HERE
More information can be found HERE .