Gif from the movie Life of Pi
One legend tells the story of young Krishna, a Hindu God, eating fallen apples although he was told not to. He got some mud in his mouth while he was doing it. His mother wanted to see for herself that he didn’t obey her and made him open his mouth. Inside she could see the whole universe of moving and unmoving creation, the earth and its mountains and oceans, the moon and the stars, and all the planets and regions. She forgave him for eating fallen apples and then she instantly forgot about what she just saw.
While we love the deep meanings of the legend, we noticed it applies to our daily lives in a slightly different, but very important way. The more we learn about our bodies, the more we understand the deep connection between the health of our mouth and our overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, while most people wouldn’t neglect their overall health, they somehow let their oral health slide way down in their priority list, without realizing these actions could actually cause many serious health problems. Just like Krishna’s mother, we forget what we have to take care of, the moment we close our mouths.
Everything is connected
It’s a pity most of us take care of our oral health just so we can have fresh breath and avoid going to the dentist. But it's important to realize what’s going on inside our bodies and how the well-being of our teeth and gums can affect the health of our whole body.
Things that people don’t consider threatening like cavities and gum problems, for example, could be related to the heart condition, microbiome or even the brain health. Teeth are organs that we tend to take for granted but they have crucial importance to the proper functioning of the whole body.
Where is the mouth-body connection?
So what exactly is the mouth-body connection? Well, our body is an ecosystem and our mouth is the main entrance to it. There are all kinds of filters and protective mechanisms inside our mouth to keep harmful things from entering our body.
Each tooth is surrounded by a tight girdle of fibers pulling the gums tightly around the neck of the tooth and not allowing unwanted trespassing elements to make their way into our system and attacking our immune system. When we take good care of our mouth, we help this fiber seal be tight, so it can do its job and keep us safe. If we neglect our oral health, the seal is weakened and we are practically opening the door for all kinds of things to enter our bloodstream and that could be a serious problem. If it comes to that, the following issues become very likely:
Diseases we can develop as a result of oral infectionsWith the constant advancements in science and the new methods of identifying the causes of various diseases, scientists keep discovering more and more links between our oral and overall health. Recent studies have found bacteria that entered the body through the mouth to be responsible for the following diseases:
Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attack the friendly bacteria in your gut. And that's when your digestive issues begin to worsen.
Women may be 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer due to lack of good oral care.
Research has shown that men with indicators of periodontal disease and prostatitis have higher levels of PSA than men with only one of these conditions.
Serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.
Oral health, diabetes, and obesity are intertwined and inflammation is at the core of this complex interaction
Research shows gum disease bacteria lipopolysaccharides (the surface of the bacterium) in samples from people suffering from dementia and none of the people who do not have the condition.
When bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation.
Periodontal health also plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy. Research suggests that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk for pre-term and low birth weight deliveries.
Bacterial infections in the chest are believed to be caused by breathing droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs.
Those who had moderate to severe periodontitis had more than twice the risk of RA compared to those with mild or no periodontitis
Tips on keeping your mouth healthy
What we are trying to say in simple words is:
Love your smile and your body and take care of them!