At Alamo Dental Health we pursue a Holistic approach to dentistry in San Antonio. We understand that the mouth is the gateway to the body and that the health of your mouth is connected to the health of your whole body. That is why everyone on our team places such a strong emphasis on total health and the relationships between our mouths and our health overall. We want our patients to have a beautiful, confident, HEALTHY smile for the rest of their lives, and we want to help our patients have beautiful, confident, healthy lives. Your smile is more than just teeth and gums. Your smile is key to wellness.
The connection between Diabetes and Gum Disease is an amazing example of the relationship between our mouths and our overall health. Medical research has shown the powerful negative impact diabetes has on our body and our gum tissues. More recently, studies have also shown that while diabetes impacts gum disease, gum disease also impacts diabetes and so does its treatment. Did you know that diabetic patients who treat their gum disease can see an improvement in their diabetes control as much as if they started taking an additional diabetes medication?
At first glance, people don’t think of gum disease and diabetes as being connected since Gum Disease is an infection of the gums and Diabetes is a disease affecting your body’s ability to process sugar. However, when we stop to think about it, we know that uncontrolled diabetes causes problems throughout the body which includes the gums around our teeth. Diabetes prevents the body from responding properly to bacteria invading your gums. This leads to aggressive and destructive forms of gum disease (periodontal disease). To make matters worse, since this gum infection is typically painless, people frequently ignore the signs of infection until it is severe. The signs and symptoms of infected gum include bad breath and bleeding, puffy gums. As the infection becomes more serious, symptoms can include pus in the gums, tooth mobility or shifting, bone and gum recession, and eventually tooth loss.
While Gum Disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth, cardiovascular disease is a disease of the heart and the blood circulation system that results in narrowing of the arteries (called atherosclerosis). Many medical studies show a link between oral infections and cardiovascular disease. This link is easy to understand when we take into consideration the fact that both the bacteria and the resulting inflammation from the gum disease can enter the body’s blood stream, spreading infection and inflammation to the cardiovascular system. The inflammation that started in the gum disease can complicate many health issues including cardiovascular disease, increased diabetes resistance, etc. Unfortunately, since the gum disease isn’t painful, patients can live unhealthy lives unaware of the dangers caused by their undiagnosed and untreated gum disease. It’s not until they start experiencing advanced symptoms, toothache, bleeding gums, losing teeth, that the gum disease is noticed.
Malnutrition and Digestion
Have you ever met someone who has trouble eating a healthy diet due to problems eating or chewing properly? People can end up in this situation because of missing or broken teeth or because of painful dentures. No matter how patients get there, the result is the same: they struggle to get the nutrition they need. When the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs from a healthy, balanced diet, problems get complicated quickly. Malnourishment is a serious condition. If you or someone you know has difficulty eating please contact our office today. There are solutions to help you. A brighter tomorrow is possible.
Dental Clearances for Surgeries
No one understands the mouth-body connection better than the surgeons who do transplants and replacements. Your body is not healthy until your mouth is healthy, and your doctor knows that very well. That is why, prior to many medical surgeries, patients are required to present a dental clearance from their dentist certifying that their mouth is infection free. Typical medical procedures requiring dental clearances include kidney and other organ transplants, heart surgeries, and hip replacements. Why? Many of these patients need to be put on medications following the surgeries, medications which affect their immune system, the system which keeps infections under control. Any bacterial infection in the mouth needs to be treated prior to surgeries to prevent bacteria entering and traveling throughout the body during the low immunity period. Also, if untreated, infections in the mouth become the cause of chronic inflammation which has a negative impact on the body’s ability to heal. So, complete health means total health from head (that includes the mouth) to toe.