Socially, having a dirty mouth might make you the life-of-the-party.
In actuality, having a dirty mouth might lead to an avalanche of other health problems, crashing down on you out of nowhere.
And we’re not talking about cavities.
We know that our bodies are full of bacteria. In fact, in a fully grown adult, the trillions of microorganisms in the body can weigh between 2 and 6 pounds. And although we wash our hands with antibacterial soap or get prescribed antibiotics, much of the bacteria in the body is actually helpful and necessary.
And your mouth is no different.
When you don’t work to clear the bacteria in your mouth (which accumulates constantly from eating, drinking, kissing, smoking, and more), and especially if your diet is poor and you have habits like smoking or excessive alcohol drinking….
The good bacteria in your mouth loses the battle to the bad bacteria.
And plaque starts to build on your teeth. And then it leaches into your gums…
The health of your gums is essential to the maintenance of the rest of your body. And the symptoms of unhealthy gums are so ubiquitous, most people don’t realize they have gum issues.
Let’s start by clearing a few things up.
Gingivitis: the early stages of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, you may notice that your gums are red and swollen, and they bleed when you floss or brush. This happens because a build-up of bacteria (plaque) on the teeth cause the gums to inflame. Left untreated, gingivitis leads to…
Periodontal Disease: full-blown gum disease. If you’ve had a build-up of plaque and bleeding gums for a while, periodontitis can develop. This is when the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place break down and the gums recede.
As disastrous as those mouth diseases sound, poor gum health can herald an even worse fate for the rest of the body.
Here are just a few of the things that poor gum health can lead to…
Scientists have theorized that there is a connection between inflammation of the gums and the occurrence of heart disease in people with periodontitis.
Inflammation is the body’s way of signalling distress. However, if it continues without being addressed, it can also cause damage.
When the gums become inflamed due to bacteria and recede away from the teeth, that bacteria can enter the blood supply through the gums.
From there, it can travel to the heart and cause inflammation. Specifically, P. gingivalis is the bacteria most often found in the coronary artery.
When attempting to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, doctors check for beta-amyloid, which is a brain protein fragment.
We now know that beta-amyloid is associated with periodontal disease and the body’s response to plaque build-up and gum deterioration. Not only that, but P. gingivalis actually aids in the production of this protein.
Gingivitis becoming periodontal disease has been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative conditions.
Respiratory disorders, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia, are caused by bacteria traveling from the upper throat, via inhalation, to the lower respiratory tract.
When there’s an excess of harmful bacteria in the mouth — like P. gingivalis, A. actinomycetemcomitans, and more — we can breathe those pathogens into the lungs.
Harmful bacteria can also adhere to respiratory bacteria within the saliva, and so get passed to the lungs as well.
After all, it makes sense that whatever is in the mouth is being passed to the rest of the body.
That’s what it’s for.
On top of these three major issues that can occur in the body resulting from poor gum health, there are hosts of others…
Even ailments that are seemingly far-removed from oral health.
Erectile dysfunction, for example, can be exacerbated by inflammation of the gums. Gum inflammation can lead to infection and inflammation elsewhere in the body, especially in blood vessels. When blood vessels are not able to relax, vasodilation of the penis cannot occur, causing erectile dysfunction.
Cancer risk increases as well. Scientists have discovered enzymes associated with gum disease inside tumors in the intestinal tract.
Premature births in pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes have all been linked to gum disease as well.
If you have suspicions that your gums aren’t in optimal condition.
Make a dental appointment as soon as you can.
And if you don’t have dental insurance…
Stay tuned. We’ll go over homeopathic ways to get your gums in order shortly.