How is the health of your mouth connected to your overall health?

How is the health of your mouth connected to your overall health?

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Have you ever been to a facial and the therapist says something like, “Do you eat a lot of dairy?  How about sodas?  Do you have acid reflux? How much water are you drinking?

We have also come to expect some of these questions when we have skin experts looking at our face, but in reality, what you eat and how healthy your mouth is does show on your skin.  Although its not the only thing that affects your skin – both bacteria and hormones interact with your digestive system to affect your skin, your diet is something that is within your control.

The gastrointestinal tract is the tract from the mouth to the anus which includes all the organs of the digestive system in humans and other animals. Food taken in through the mouth is digested to extract nutrients and absorb energy, and the waste expelled as feces. 

What happens when your bite is off though? There are many health advantages that come with bite correction such as improved appearance, improved speech, and better functionality for chewing, biting and using the jaw. Here is a list of common bites that we see come in for correction:

  • Openbite – The front teeth don’t overlap the bottom ones or line up with them correctly. They may not even touch the lower jaw at all and there may be a gap present. Openbite is caused from tongue-thrusting or thumb-sucking. This is bad as it can wear out all your back molars.
  • Underbite – The lower jaw sticks out more than the upper jaw instead of lining up together. Biting and chewing will be more difficult and problems like TMJ can form.
  • Overbite – This is the opposite to underbite and is when the upper jaw sticks out more than the lower jaw. Patients tend to bite into gum tissue or wear out their front teeth when overbite is not corrected. 
  • Crossbite – The teeth overlap unevenly when they come together. Some will be in front of the lower jaw, and some will be behind. You could also chip and fracture a tooth much more easily.

Do you have any plaque on your teeth? Chances are you have a good chance of having plaque on in your arteries and your brain then also!  There is a link between having plaques in your brain that are associated with dementia and alheimers when you have plaque build-up on your teeth.  If you think about how thats possible its simple.. when you swallow particles of whats in your mouth are circulated into the blood stream thus spreading it all around in your body until it finds a place to build up. Keeping up with flossing and brushing can keep plaque at a minimum so be sure to have a good routine morning and night!

There is also an association between dirty teeth and heart disease because the plaque build-up on your teeth is similar to the plaque build-up in arteries associated with heart disease.  Yikes!

Another thing heart disease and tooth infection have in common is that  they have both been named the #1 killer of humans at one point in our history.  Before there were antibiotics, tooth infections were the most common cause of “natural” death but now, heart disease takes the “prize”!

All of these are reasons to keep your mouth clean by brushing and flossing daily.  Remember that technique is important, so watch YouTube videos and ask your hygienist, dentist or orthodontist for pointers if you are having a hard time keeping your teeth free of plaque even though you are brushing your teeth. In extreme cases, there might be a diet change needed! So if you don’t have a well balanced diet (with lots of water intake!) that might be something your hygienist suggests.

If you have infection, plaque, bacteria and disease in your mouth, then you might be sending all that infection, plaque, bacteria and disease into your digestive system every time you swallow – ew!   If you think sending all that bad junk into you body and it being absorbed into your bloodstream doesn’t affect you, then you are in for a big surprise. 

We find more and more connections between a healthy mouth and a healthy body every day.  We also find more acne and more connections between a dirty, infected mouth and whole body inflammation and irritation.  Isn’t it so interesting to think of your body this way? It is all connected! Your mouth truly is the gateway to your overall health!

This blog is based off of our Instagram Live video. Stay up to date on all the latest with Cooper Orthodontics by following us on social media!