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The Mouth– Body Connection

Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is one the most prevalent diseases in the world, with an estimated 70% of the world's population affected by some form of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10-15% of the world's population, or 600-900 million people, are suffering from severe periodontal disease.

Good oral health can lead to improved overall health

In recent years, international research studies have demonstrated a possible correlation between periodontal disease and other very serious systemic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and pregnancy complications. Indeed, studies have shown that oral bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel through the body. Therefore, proper oral hygiene is important not only for preventing or treating diseases of the oral cavity, but it also contributes to the good general health of the whole body.

Potential Effects of Moderate to Severe Periodontitis on the Body

  • Diabetes: 2-4 times
  • Stroke: 2 times
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease: 2-5 times
  • Coronary artery disease: 2 times
  • Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes: 4-7 times

“Residual bacteria in the mouth may enter the blood stream and be carried throughout the body causing inflammatory reactions.”


Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes is a common condition affecting millions of people. Diabetes affects several organs and systems throughout the body. The most well-known complications of diabetes include heart disease, poor blood circulation, diminished eye-sight and kidney function, slower healing of wounds, and a reduced resistance to infections. Oral health is also associated with diabetes. Good oral health can be enjoyed if the blood glucose levels can be maintained and the mouth is well looked after with thorough daily oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.


Cancer and Oral Health

Cancer affects the mouth in several ways. Many cancer therapies will cause changes in the normal health of the mouth leading to sores and an increased risk of gum disease and dental caries. Cancer of the mouth and throat (oral cancer) affects hundreds of thousands of Americans with over 41,000 new cases each year. By understanding the risk factors for oral cancer, you can reduce your likelihood of getting the disease, and if you are diagnosed with oral cancer you can increase the chances of a successful treatment outcome.


Heart Disease and Oral Health

Heart disease can affect your oral health and dental care, so it is important to tell your dentist about any heart condition and medications you may be taking. Heart disease and gum disease have some mechanisms in common, such as inflammation and the chemicals that the body produces to both cause and control it.


Pregnancy and Oral Health

Pregnancy is a very special time when you need to take a little more care of yourself to get your baby’s life off to a good start, and to prepare for everything involved in caring for your infant. If you have enjoyed good dental health in the past, you should encounter few problems during pregnancy. However, pregnancy is accompanied by many changes in your body and some of these occur in your mouth. The most common oral problem in pregnancy is changes in the gums, as they react more aggressively to dental plaque; a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. This often starts at about 8 weeks, peaks in the 8th month, and then ends shortly after delivery. Good oral hygiene throughout the pregnancy is the best way to combat pregnancy gingivitis.


Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth feels ‘dry’ and there does not seem to be enough saliva. Dry mouth is a condition that affects many people. Saliva is important for the health and well-being of our mouths—without it, speaking and eating become difficult, the mouth does not feel fresh and may have an unpleasant taste and odor, and dental disease can develop very quickly.