Exploring the

Mouth-Body Connection

Think of your mouth as the gateway to your body. How you take care of your teeth and gums will impact your overall health.

Click on one of the topics below to learn how taking care of your mouth can help you to stay healthy!

Diabetes

and your dental health.

Did you know, that reports from 2018 show 34.2 million people of all ages in US have diabetes! Your dentist cares if you have diabetes.

Why? Because diabetes can lead to

  • tooth loss
  • dry mouth
  • fungal infections – like thrush

AND

  • trouble controlling your blood sugar

1 in 5 adults don’t know that they have diabetes. Visit your medical doctor for diabetes testing. THEN – visit your dentist to keep your mouth healthy. Diabetics who have healthy mouths, eat healthily and have good control of their insulin levels lower their chances of getting gum disease.

woman checking blood sugar

Have Diabetes?

Here is how you can help your dentist keep your mouth healthy:

  • Visit Your Dentist! Regular dental check-ups help find and stop problems early
  • Brush and floss!
  • Look in the Mirror! Check your mouth for sores, bleeding, changes in dryness and white patches. If you see any changes – set up an appointment with your dentist
  • Stay Healthy! Follow the medication and diet/exercise plan you got from your doctor.
  • Ask Questions! Your dental team LOVES to share ways to keep your body and mouth healthy. Write down questions and bring them to your dental visits.

Want more information click here and here.

References

  1. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. (2020, February 11). Accessed October 23, 2020., from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html
  2. Gesko DS, Rush WA, Durand EU. The Oral-Systemic Link: An Opportunity for Collaboration. Diabetes Spectrum. https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/24/4/187. Published November 1, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  3. Diabetes and Oral Health Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/diabetes/more-info. Published July 2018. Accessed October 23, 2020.

Heart Disease

and your dental health.

Quick science lesson: You need your heart!

What does your heart have to do with your mouth – we are still learning how they work together.

What do we know?

  • Have healthy gums AND take pills for high blood pressure? You may be helping your medication work better. Read more here.
  • Have gum disease? You may be increasing your chances of having a heart attack. Read more here.
  • Have you lost teeth? You may be at a higher danger of peripheral arterial disease. Read more here.
doctor holding a heart

What can you do while we learn more?

  • See your dentist! Your dental team may notice changes in your health before you do.
  • Take care of your teeth! Brush, Floss and eat healthy foods! All these things make a healthy mouth.
  • Quit smoking! Ask your dentist for help Here are some resources
  • Stressed out? Try some activities to decrease stress.  Stress is linked to inflammation and inflammation is linked to health problems – like heart disease. Here are some tips for stress.

References

  1. Vital organs: definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. Vital organs | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/vital-organs. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  2. Pietropaoli D, Pinto RD, et al. Poor Oral Health and Blood Pressure Control Among US Hypertensive Adults. Hypertension. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.11528. Published October 22, 2018. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  3. Rydén L, Lars Rydén From Departments of Medicine K2 (L.R., Buhlin K, et al. Periodontitis Increases the Risk of a First Myocardial Infarction. Circulation. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.020324?url_ver=Z39.88-2003. Published January 13, 2016. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  4. Hung H-C, Hsin-Chia Hung From the Departments of Epidemiology (H.-C.H., Willett W, et al. Oral Health and Peripheral Arterial Disease. Circulation. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.CIR.0000051456.68470.C8. Published February 10, 2003. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  5. Diabetes? Heart disease? Osteoporosis? Your dentist may know before you do. Dentists detect diseases - Delta Dental. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/dentists-detect.html. Published 2012. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  6. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037. Published March 19, 2019. Accessed October 23, 2020.

Pregnancy

and your dental health.

Yay! – You’re a mom! When you have healthy mouth, so does your family. So, let’s set the standard early BEFORE baby arrives.

First! Celebrate your pregnancy! Next, go see your dentist.

Dental care is safe AT ALL points of your pregnancy

 That includes:

  • X-rays
    • Your dental team will use a lead apron that will cover and protect you and baby
  • Regular care – like exams and cleanings
    • As long as you are comfy laying on your back – come and see us!
  • Emergency care – like extractions, root canals and fillings
    • Skipping dental care may lead to pregnancy complications

And

  • Medications
    • Your dental team will talk about options. All that is offered is safe for you and baby
mom with pregnant belly

Have you heard?

It is normal for gums to bleed when pregnant.
There are a lot of changes that happen while pregnant! If you keep up with brushing, flossing and dental check-ups– you will be less likely to have bleeding/puffy gums.

Pregnant women get more cavities because their babies take their calcium.
Mommies give a lot to their babies but the calcium in your teeth is not one of them. Changes in eating, brushing habits and morning sickness are what lead to new/more cavities. Eating healthy foods and rinsing instead of brushing after vomiting will help keep you be cavity-free.

I can give my baby cavities.
YES! Mommies who have a lot of cavity-causing bacteria can pass it to their babies. How can you stop from giving your bacteria to your baby?

  • Don’t put items in your mouth – like a pacifier and then give it to baby
  • Try not to kiss baby on the mouth
  • Try not to share food/drinks
  • See your dentist! Have them treat your cavities so that your mouth is in good health

References

  1. Pregnancy and Oral Health Feature. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/features/pregnancy-and-oral-health.html. Published February 19, 2019. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  2. Oral Health Topics - Pregnancy. Pregnancy. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/pregnancy. Published 2019. Accessed October 23, 2020.

Saliva / GI

and your dental health.

Did you know that your spit or saliva helps to protect your teeth? It keeps your mouth

  • Moist, making it easy to swallow and talk
  • Delivers minerals, like calcium that keep teeth strong
  • Cleans, washing away food you’ve eaten

ACID.  Have you ever left a battery in a toy or remote control for too long and noticed the corrosion it caused? The same thing can happen in the mouth. How often and how long acid stays in the mouth can lead to you getting cavities.

Acid can come from

  • Foods
  • Drinks
  • Absence of Saliva or
  • Bacteria is in the mouth
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders like GERD and Crohn’s Disease can also change the acidity in the mouth.
Ph2OH Logo

Did you know?

Your dentist may see signs that you have digestive issues during your dental exam and may notice:

  • changes in the color of your gums
  • swelling in your lips
  • the number of cavities you have

Your dentist can test the acidity of your mouth to know if you are at risk of getting cavities.

Testing can help your dental team decide what products you should use at home and in the dental office.

PH2OH is a program your dentist can use to test the acidity of your spit.

Learn more about PH2OH here.

Ask your dentist if they do saliva testing.

References

  1. Mouth Healthy TM. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/saliva. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  2. The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay/more-info/tooth-decay-process. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  3. Logan, Richard Ma,b Links between oral and gastrointestinal health, Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: March 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 1 - p 31-35 doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e32833575e4. Accessed October 23, 2020.
  4. Dawes C, Wong DTW. Role of Saliva and Salivary Diagnostics in the Advancement of Oral Health. Journal of dental research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6900436/. Published February 2019. Accessed October 23, 2020.

Sleep Apnea

and your dental health.

There is nothing better than being wrapped up in blankets for a good night’s sleep!

Sleep helps your brain work correctly, helps your body heal, and helps you be more productive. Poor sleep increases your risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Sleep-related breathing sicknesses like snoring or sleep apnea can cause you to have poor sleep.

Your dentist can help you have restful sleep!

man snoring with open mouth

Did you know?

Your dental team can screen you for risk factors like

  • A large tongue
  •  Large tonsils
  • Mouth breathing
  • Breathing pauses during sleep

 

Your dentist will work with your medical doctor to come up with a plan which can include

  • An oral appliance
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy
  • Changes in sleeping position

 

Be sure to talk to your dentist if you are having trouble sleeping.

References

  1. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency. \Accessed October 25, 2020.
  2. Sleep Apnea (Obstructive). Sleep Apnea. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/sleep-apnea-obstructive. Accessed October 25, 2020.