Alhaurin Dental Centre

World Class Smiles at the

A Patient Info Sheet

Dentists know—better than most— the critical connection between the mouth and the body. Oral inflammation and bacteria are linked to various systemic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers. It makes sense, but how can we make our patients understand the oral/body connection?

We can start with facts: oral bacteria have been linked to the plaque in the arteries of heart attack victims, and also found

in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. It is theorized that periodontal inflammation can elevate inflammation throughout the body—a precursor to heart disease.

The link between gum disease (which affects 50 percent of the U.S. population, {and increases to 70 percent for those over the age of 65} and diabetes goes both ways. Diabetics are more prone to infection, making the gum tissue more susceptible to the plaque in the mouth. Research also suggests that inflammation can act as a catalyst for insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes. Expectant mothers are also at risk: some studies suggest that inflammation in the mouth may play a part in triggering pre-term labor.

These findings are grim, but it’s our duty to share them with our patients. 

Below you’ll find some simple steps to share with your family to help them keep both mouth and body healthy.

Daily brushing and flossing: Time to step up your morning and evening bathroom routine. While it might be okay to cut corners in certain areas of life, brushing your teeth is not one of them. To effectively clean your teeth, you must brush for two minutes, two times per day. Reap additional benefits by incorporating calisthenics or yoga poses: do a wall sit or balance on one foot while you brush. Most importantly, don’t forget to floss. I understand that it might not be the most fun activity, but flossing is critical. Flossing removes the plaque from between the teeth and just under the gum line.

Visit your dental professional on a regular basis  Two to three times per year is really the bare minimum, depending on the amount of dentistry you have had over the years. Try not to make
it any less often than this, and if you notice something funny going on in there, make a special trip. Professional dental cleanings are the only way to maintain a healthy mouth for the long run and they increase your chance of tackling minor dental issues before they turn into expensive, painful problems.

Proper nutrition: The bacterial balance in your mouth is impacted by the foods you eat. Acidifying foods lower the pH of the mouth, creating an environment favorable to bad bacteria. Alkalinizing foods raise the pH of the mouth, offering a home suitable for the good bacteria. Reach for the alkalinizing foods—think green, like spinach, kale, cucumber, broccoli, and avocado. Your mouth and your body will thank you.

The right amount of saliva: Saliva plays an important role in the mouth. It helps you chew, taste, and swallow food. It prevents bad breath and has antibodies that protect the tooth’s enamel. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications and certain infections, so speak with a healthcare provider if you suspect there might be a problem.

Put your money in your mouth: Well, not literally. But, have you ever considered purchasing an electric toothbrush? Do you stop and read the ingredients on your tube of toothpaste? Spending money on your mouth is no waste. An electric toothbrush is proven to clean your mouth more e ectively and more efficiently than a manual brush. Look for an antioxidant-rich toothpaste that can deliver multiple health benefits.