This blog explores the relationship between two concepts that are not frequently thought of together: the state of our teeth and the state of our body. You may be familiar with a few connections between the two; there have been a few news stories in major media outlets that people with gingivitis get more heart attacks. What else is there to say? How closely related to our overall health is the health of our mouth?
To answer that, let me guess who you are. You are active, generally healthy and you eat well. You take your vitamins and every now and then you check in with a doc to make sure that you aren't falling apart. You get +10 points for taking care of yourself! You may also dread going to the dentist (when did you last go to the dentist?) and you know that when you do you will have to endure a lengthy scraping and you will be told to floss more, brush more, and generally take better care of your mouth.
I was in exactly this setup a year ago, siting in the dentist's office mumbling how many years it had been since I had an exam when it occurred to me that I had been chasing after some pretty small details in pursuing a healthy life and ignoring something big that was doing me harm.
I had an infection. My dental care was pretty good, but despite that my gums were infected, inflamed and unhappy about that care. An infection anywhere else would be an emergency that I would take to a doctor, but for some reason I was giving the infection in my mouth a free ride. While I was taking fish oil trying to lower my inflammation my gums were on fire. While I was working out to build up my body bacteria were nesting in to my teeth to break them down. While I was trying to eat a healthy diet I was still feeding the enemies in my mouth.
I started exploring the relationship between oral health and health generally and the more I read the more I found they were connected. I found that by taking care of your oral health you can
- Lower your inflammation levels
- Increase your body's ability to cope with illness
- Enjoy life more!
Here's to your healthy mouth and healthy body.