The Holistic Connection Between Mouth & Body

The Prevention of Disease Begins With Protecting Your Oral Health (McGinty)

As a biological dentist in Denver, our team at McGinty Dental Group know that a lot patients look towards holistic health practitioners for guidance and advice for dealing with poor health issues that can include discomfort, fatigue, and illness. If you’ve visited a holistic health coach, you may have been surprised when the coach asked you about your dental history and habits. In reality, dental history and habits can actually tell your practitioner a lot about your health and can have a significant impact when creating a successful healing plan.

Your Oral Health’s Impact on Health & Well-Being

Maintaining proper oral hygiene and health is vital if you want to avoid chronic health problems. Because of the need for healthy teeth and gums, a holistic health practitioner will want to understand whether you’ve recently received diagnoses for gum disease, tooth decay, cavities, or periodontitis, or if you’ve undergone any major dental work or had a tooth extracted. Individuals who suffer from oral health problems have an increased risk of developing oral pain or losing one or more teeth. Patients also have a higher risk of developing:

  • Inflammatory Diseases: Initially, the link between cardiovascular disease and poor oral health seemed circumstantial, but further research proved the two connected. In 2009, the Japanese Dental Science Review published a study that found the autoimmune mechanism and inflammation found in both diseases suggested a “relevant mechanism which links periodontitis to cardiovascular disease.”
  • Bacterial infections: Bacteria can enter the bloodstream from an unhealthy mouth and causes illness. One study found that “Bacteremia was observed in 100 percent of patients after dental extraction, in 70 percent after dental scaling, in 55 percent after a third major surgery, [and] in 20 percent after endodontic treatment,” according to the Clinical Microbiology Reviews. According to researchers involved in the study, by practicing normal dental hygiene, only a small number of bacteria will be able to gain access to the bloodstream. However, patients who practice poor oral hygiene, the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth could “increase 2 to 10-fold and thus possibly introduce more bacteria into tissue and the bloodstream.”
  • Cognitive decline: One study found that individuals with poor oral hygiene and gum disease have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, involved researchers examining brain samples from 10 Alzheimer’s patients with samples from 10 individuals without the disease. The researchers found Porphyromonas gingivitis, a bacterium associated with gum disease, in the brain of patients suffering from dementia and in the samples from those without the disease. Researchers suspect that for those who have this type of bacteria in their brains, given the right push, they may develop Alzheimer’s. Even more unsettling, additional research has also linked this type of bacteria to a higher risk of pancreatic cancer as well.

As a biological dentist in Denver, our team at McGinty Dental Group will continue to monitor how a patient’s oral health can impact their overall health. We’ll be sure to keep you informed on the latest developments that continue to illustrate how our bodies are truly interconnected. To enjoy quality overall health means taking a holistic view of our bodies from top to bottom. We cannot simply ignore one aspect of our health or consider something of less overall importance when everything ties together so closely. As more research emerges, that connection will only continue to grow stronger.