By Dr. Scott L. Rose
The human body is an amazing organism. The more we learn about it, the more we see the interrelationships between seemingly unrelated parts of the body. The mouth is a wonderful example. It can directly influence our health and indirectly influence our health. Think of the mouth as the door to your home. An open door lets anything and everything in. Even a door that looks ok can have cracks, leaks, and other issues that allow wind, moisture, insects, etc. to invade.
The mouth is a very specialized and complex door. There have been many studies that correlate the health of the mouth to the health of the entire body. One study even suggests that the condition of the mouth can predict cardiovascular health just as well as cholesterol levels. A recent study showed that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease led to an increased risk of heart disease. While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, the bacteria associated with gum disease are implicated in the formation of atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. The two mechanisms that seem most likely are that the toxins from the bacteria help in the formation of the fatty deposits known as plaque. The other mechanism is that these toxins trigger specific proteins released that create inflammation of the blood vessels.
Regardless of the exact mechanism, it starts with oral bacteria. Knowing this, there is no reason not to get regular cleanings and examinations where the health of the gums and bone are evaluated. Old fillings that are breaking down also harbor bad bacteria and this can also add to the problem. The good news is there are many therapies and treatments for dental decay, gum disease, and gum inflammation. In addition to traditional treatments, I have found that adding other adjunctive therapies, such as lasers and ozone, help healing and promote health. The bottom line is: be proactive. Fix your door.