Oral Health & Whole-Body Health Connection
Most people are unaware that their oral health can impact the health and is often a reflection of their entire body health. Studies have linked oral health to many systemic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and many others, especially those of an inflammatory origin.
Risk of heart disease and diabetes, in particular, are significantly increased in people with periodontal (gum) disease. In the case of heart disease, the risk is increased up to ten-fold. A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2010 found that people with poor oral hygiene were 70% more likely to develop heart disease as those who brushed twice per day. The increased risk of diabetes has been estimated at 700%, and poor oral health has even been linked to oropharyngeal and colorectal cancers.
The Oral Microbiome Bacteria in Your Mouth
Why are these diseases more likely as a result of poor oral health? The answer has to do with the more than 700+ known different types of bacteria in the mouth. When the ratio of good and bad bacteria is out of balance, all systems of the body are greatly affected, causing chronic low-grade inflammation, infections, vulnerability to viruses, and systemic problems. Inflammation has been implicated in all sorts of todays most common diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
Oral hygiene is vital, but it isn’t as easy as rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash. These washes are much like antibiotics. They kill all bacteria even the bacteria you need for good health. As a result, these chemicals can actually cause the balance of the bacteria in your mouth to worsen. The other issue is that restoring healthy bacteria in your mouth is not as easy as restoring it to the digestive system with the ingestion of probiotics.
That said, probiotics in the diet will indeed have a positive effect on your oral health to a degree. For example, fermented vegetables-such as sauerkraut, Kombucha, and other naturally fermented foods are great ways to get probiotics into your diet. These good bacteria can help to restore a healthy ratio to your digestive system, which will, in turn, have a positive effect on your teeth and gums.
If you want to directly improve what is called the oral microbiome, studies show that certain supplements do make their way to the mouth and improve the bacterial ratio. So, besides proper oral hygiene per our instructions, you can take the following nutritional supplements to promote good oral health:
- Vitamin C
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin K2
Dr. Singer can advise you on proper oral hygiene and diet to ensure that your dental health is sound. He is trained and experienced in a variety of medical disciplines and is well-versed on the complex relationship between oral health and whole body health. Should you need further intervention, he can refer you to physicians in other specialties. He works with other specialists in treating many of his patients.