Did you know the presence of oral bacteria has been linked to health problems in other areas of the body? If you have a chronic illness, or if you worry about having one in the future, it is vital you understand the oral-systemic connection.
While a link between oral health and systemic health was first identified in 1954, it is only recently catching serious attention from scientists. But what they have studied and researched so far shows compelling evidence that there is an oral-systemic connection.
At Hawkins Family Dentistry, Dr. Alex Hawkins becomes more and more fascinated by the connection between oral health and overall health as he continues to study and learn about it. And because he cares about his patients, he wants to help them achieve the best overall health possible.
In his goal to improve patients' health, Dr. Hawkins goes beyond teeth and gums. He is interested in your entire health, and one of the things he does with this in mind is to offer a specialized test called OralDNA®. He will also look for evidence of various health issues during your exam, such as oral cancer, diabetes, acid reflux, osteoporosis, and vitamin deficiencies. He will then provide education to you and take measures to help you improve your overall health
While many people only consider decay and gum disease dental issues, the truth is that they can affect other parts of your body.
How is that possible?
Both gum disease and dental decay are caused by bacteria in the mouth. The problem is that these bacteria don't always stay in the mouth. Many things can encourage bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
Once the bacteria enter your bloodstream, they can spread to major organs, including your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and even your brain. These bacteria find a new home where they release toxins that cause inflammation. And that inflammation can lead to some severe consequences.
Interestingly, the reverse can also happen. Systemic diseases can lead to or worsen oral disease. For instance, diabetes is known to increase the risk of gum disease.
The cycle can be vicious.
When oral bacteria travel through your body, the inflammation they cause can become chronic. This chronic inflammation can disturb your organs' normal functions, putting you at risk for numerous health issues.
While it is still unknown just how much damage oral bacteria in the body can cause, mounting evidence shows strong connections between oral and systemic diseases.
Some of the links scientists have shown so far include:
Research shows that certain oral bacteria are more likely to cause systemic inflammation and disease. Therefore, if you have gum disease, it is quite helpful to know if any of those specific bacteria are present in your mouth.
OralDNA is a simple, quick saliva test that we send to a specialized lab. They will test your saliva to see which bacteria are present in your mouth.
If any of the high-risk bacteria are found, it allows us the opportunity to initiate a customized treatment plan to reduce or eliminate them to help keep you healthy.
If you have gum disease or suffer from one or more chronic systemic conditions, routine dental care is imperative to optimize your systemic wellness.
Call 804-897-9800 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hawkins. He would love the opportunity to demonstrate how the oral-systemic connection affects you and your overall health.