Three out of four Americans are reported to show signs of gingivitis (mild gum disease). About 30{dcbe0cd52ce35e2f156887e14605e24111ce99c14f01d3853732956d43020bdd} show signs of severe gum disease, known as chronic periodontitis. Unfortunately, not as many people understand the connection between the health of your mouth and your physical wellbeing. The oral-systemic connection is becoming more apparent every day, and experts now have reason to believe that neglecting your oral health can have dire consequences for your systemic health. Waco dentist Dr. Corbet Locke explains how an unhealthy mouth can lead to serious health problems down the road.

Revisiting Your Bacterial Mouth Tenants

In our last article, we discussed two notorious oral bacteria, S. mutans and P. gingivalis, which are suspected of being the main causes of tooth decay and gum disease, respectively. We also explained that P. gingivalis is dangerous in its ability to invoke your body’s inflammatory defense response to the presence of infection. When poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease, the first stage is gingivitis, which is marked by swelling and bleeding of the gums. Even in this early stage disease, bacteria are able to enter your bloodstream through the diseased tissue and ride the stream throughout your body. As P. gingivalis incites inflammation in your gums, it can do the same for any other tissue in your body. This property accounts for the suspected link between gum disease and chronic inflammatory diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. By brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, you can remove excess bacteria before it can accumulate and begin its work of destroying your mouth and risking your health.

Your Mouth can Warn You

Another vital aspect of the oral-systemic connection is as an early warning system. Many potentially fatal diseases, including cancer and HIV, make their first appearances as lesions in the mouth or other oral abnormalities. By visiting Dr. Locke’s office at least once every six months, you improve your chances of detecting irregularities early enough to increase your chances of successful treatment. A disciplined oral hygiene routine provides benefits that extend beyond a healthy mouth; it could help save your life. To learn more about maintaining your good oral and overall health, schedule a consultation with Dr. Locke by calling our Waco dental office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.