Your mouth is absolutely astounding when you think about – and we aren’t being biased just because we love teeth! Think about it! It is the gateway to getting nutrients into the body. Your teeth have to break down food with chewing while your salivary glands release enzymes to help start breaking those carb molecules down. Plus, our taste buds on the tongue let us enjoy so many different things! Seriously, your mouth is an amazing place. But did you know it’s more like a rainforest? We know, utterly unbelievable, but hear us out.
Why a rainforest? Well, your body is home to trillions of microorganisms and where they are located in your body dictates the type of microbe they are. Your mouth has its own particular microbiome. Like a rainforest, it is a highly diverse and very sensitive to change. The microorganisms found there are less likely to be found elsewhere on or on the body. But what does this mean?
When we talk about your mouth being a window to your overall health, it’s absolutely true. We know based on the types of oral health issues you’re having, that you may have systemic (affecting the entire body) health issues as well. A well-known example of this is periodontal disease. You can have a predominance of a certain type of bacteria in your mouth.
We see a mother and daughter at our practice. The mother has to come every 3 months because of the plaque that builds up on her teeth. Her daughter on the other hand comes every 6 months and is prone to cavities. What’s the difference between them? Their oral microbiome is dominated by different types of bacteria. The mother has an overabundance of the types of microbes (specifically P. gingivalis) that cause periodontal disease. The daughter has an overabundance of Streptococcus mutans which ferment the sugar that we eat. Their acidic waste products break down the tooth’s surface and cause cavities.
As you can see, based on the type of bacteria in your mouth, you can have different issues. But this goes a step further. Research has shown that when you have periodontal disease, your risk of heart disease is higher – 2 times more likely! There is also new research linking periodontal disease with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is why we say that your mouth is the window to your health. If we see heavy plaque buildup, bleeding gums, loose teeth, inflamed gums, or in worse cases – tooth loss and abscesses, we know these are signs of periodontal disease. We will work with you to clear your infection (because that’s what it actually is!) so that you don’t suffer from even worse complications down the road. It takes a lot of work to clear up the infection and to stave periodontal disease off.
Your mouth is an amazing place that is home to millions and millions of microorganisms. Your overall health is linked to those tiny little microbes. An overabundance of particular microbe can lead to more serious disease. Of those, a predominance of P. gingivalis can indicate deeper issues. Periodontal disease is a serious infection and if left untreated can lead to a whole host of problems. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, please call us right away to book an appointment.