Dental Health and Overall Health

Dental Health and Overall Health
Posted on 01/11/2017
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At Federici Dental, nothing is more important to us than providing you with the dental care you need to lead a healthy and happy life. Regular dental appointments and cleanings may not seem life-changing, but keeping up with your oral care helps prevent much more serious problems in the long run. In this blog, Dr. Dave will cover the connection between oral health and overall health, and treatments for the various problems that can arise.

The Importance Of Dental Health & The Role Of Plaque

More and more articles are coming out monthly on one's dental health and how it can contribute to your overall health. More and more medical doctors are referring their patients to dentists to have their mouths checked as their oral conditions are contributing to their overall health issues. These recent developments conclude that we need to start thinking of the mouth as an entry point into the circulatory (bloodstream) system and not just the digestive system. For example, some of you may have or know someone who has angina pectoris, a heart condition where small chest pains occur and the remedy is a small tablet of nitroglycerin. This tablet is placed under the tongue and within minutes the chest pain dissipates. This shows us that the floor of the mouth is very absorptive and is an entryway into the circulatory system, making the cleanliness of our mouths more important than ever.

When we have long spans where we do not have our teeth cleaned and checked for decay, plaque buildups and tartar sticks to teeth and release bacteria and toxic byproducts into our mouth.  This then circulates and enters the bloodstream possibly contributing to arterial plaque accumulation. More studies are showing respiratory problems being sourced by bacteria again from and in the mouth being inhaled. 

We must envision these bacterial products and toxins being absorbed into the bloodstream and respiratory systems.  When we think of plaque (clogged arteries) medically, it’s usually as arterial plaque which is from cholesterol, fatty foods, etc. Dental plaque is one more contributing factor and must be watched and addressed through regular dental cleanings and the regular use of floss or any of the many in between teeth cleaning devices/aids. Your overall health is based on a healthy mouth as this is where everything we put into our body enters.  

Potential Problems Of Poor Dental Health

girl with bad breath

Bad breath is one indication of mouth issues and poor dental health. Our hygienists check for all possible sources of your breath issues and make the appropriate recommendation to treat it. It’s critical to be thorough when diagnosing the cause of bad breath, as it also be a side effect of medications or even deep tongue grooves, which capture and break down bacteria into VSC's, or volatile sulfur compounds. From tongue scrapers, to special rinses, to lozenges, we have the remedies to treat this condition.

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is another major issue that occurs, because as you age, saliva glands decrease their production and release over time. Many medications taken by older adults can also contribute to dry mouth, limiting the body's ability to rinse and dilute acids that cause cavities.  Fortunately, frequent water consumption, more frequent brushing after eating, and chewing sugarless gums and mints can help increase the rinsing of these acids off the teeth. There are aso many products created to combat the ever increasing epidemic of dry mouth such as Act Dry Mouth, Biotene, and Xylimelts Dry.  If you notice a dry mouth or were recently put on a new medication, please ask us for guidance on which product would work best for you.

More issues to consider are acid reflux, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and hiatal hernias, which can cause acids to enter into the oral cavity creating an acidic environment.  The acidity can promote cavities, the breakdown of the teeth and gums and bad breath. Diabetes and smoking are other major issues that affect the oral cavity and need to be discussed by your doctor and dentist on how to combat the effects of these on your teeth and gums.

Be Proactive About Your Dental Health!

In summary, we need to think of our mouths as entry ways into our bodies bloodstream not just our digestive system. From health issues, medication side effects, natural aging and decreasing of saliva, we must take the necessary steps to prevent these varying issues from compromising our oral health.  

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the connection between oral and overall health. If you have any questions about anything, or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact our Manahawkin office at (609) 597-1234. One of our dedicated staff members would be happy to assist you. We’re proud to serve patients of all ages in Manahawkin, Stafford Township, Barnegat Township, Long Beach Island, and beyond. We look forward to hearing from you soon!