It used to be that people thought of the mouth as a separate world—disconnected from the rest of the body—in any meaningful way. Periodic scraping and “cleaning” and gum care, with a few X-Rays, were all that were needed for a healthy mouth. Even gum infections were “local” conditions.
The rest of the body was, well, the rest of the body. Period.
Now, science has changed all that! It turns out that what happens in the mouth, doesn’t stay there. Harmful bacteria in your mouth—are on the move and can harm your heart, as well as raise risk for other serious health problems, like heart disease and dementia.
Have you ever heard of someone having a heart attack triggered by a dental infection? Did you know that keeping your gums healthy can help prevent a heart attack, stroke or other health problems? These questions are increasingly relevant in our practice where the mouth and the body are treated as one oral-systemic connection.
“Thanks to mounting scientific research, we now know that harmful bacteria that live around teeth raise serious risk, because they travel in our bloodstream, and can affect heart health and brain health,” says Dr. Daniel J. Deutsch. “These findings specifically reveal how periodontal disease—and the bacteria that cause it—have body-wide consequences, including heart attacks, strokes, and Alzheimer’s. We consider this a ‘medical condition with a dental solution’.”
‘Personalized’ Care is the New Standard-of-Care!
These are serious findings that our dentists no longer ignore! And our patients welcome new “protective” protocols and therapies for harmful oral bacteria—especially as many patients are dealing with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other health complications.
“This is where personalized treatment becomes paramount, as these bacteria can inflict lethal harm for patients already compromised by health challenges,” says Dr. Deutsch. “Compared with a 20-year-old with no health issues, older people with autoimmune conditions, like Crohn’s Disease, irritable bowel, osteoarthritis, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance—are vulnerable to health risks raised by oral bacteria.”