Oral Health and Whole-body Health
You exercise, eat a balanced diet, and do everything else necessary to keep yourself healthy, but what about your dental health? Ongoing research shows that your teeth and gums don’t only act as a barometer for your overall health, but they are also where most conditions originate. From strokes and heart attacks to diabetes and even dementia, there is a direct link to your oral health or lack thereof.
It is a lot to chew on, isn’t it? All this time you thought your biggest concern was bad breath and cavities, where in fact you should be worried about much more severe diseases, including dementia. But how exactly does your oral health affect the rest of your body?
How does the presence of bacteria affect the body?
You have heard it over and over again—how important it is to keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist—but there is a good chance no one has told you exactly how the bacteria in your mouth can affect your body as well as your brain.
But how, you ask? As soon as the opportunity presents itself, the bacteria in your mouth find their way into your gums, getting into your bloodstream. Once this happens, they pretty much have access to every part of your body, including your brain.
Dr. Greg Sexton is acutely aware of the dangers of gum disease (more officially known as periodontal disease) and is one of the few dentists that take a holistic approach to your dental health. At his practice in Morristown, TN, Dr. Sexton offers patients periodontal therapy, which includes treatment and ongoing maintenance to prevent periodontal disease from recurring.
As part of his periodontal maintenance program, Dr. Sexton offers:
- A thorough evaluation to ensure there are no symptoms that the disease is back.
- Thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth.
- Antimicrobial care to kill off any bacteria that the professional cleaning can’t reach.
- An extensive homecare program.
- An oral cancer screening as well as decay detection.
Is Periodontal Disease Preventable?
The good news is PD, or periodontal disease is preventable with a good oral health regime. To make sure you are taking good care of your gums, you need to establish and maintain oral hygiene habits.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
You need to brush your teeth in the morning, and at night, before you go to bed. But you should also try to brush after meals to get rid of any disease-causing bacteria. Don’t forget to clean your tongue as well. It is the perfect breeding place for germs.
2. Floss regularly.
While you might have been told that you need to floss at least once a week, the truth is you should be doing it at least once a day. Flossing helps to remove any debris that gets stuck between your teeth and on your gums and reaches places your toothbrush can’t.
3. Use mouthwash.
Mouthwash isn’t only useful to give you fresh breath, but the right antibacterial mouth rinse will also kill off bacteria and reduce plaque on your teeth. Dr. Sexton suggests you stay away from whatever you happen to pick up at the local grocery store and use one that is recommended by your dentist.
4. Be aware of the risks.
Certain factors can increase your chances of gum disease. Genetics, your age, and diet play a role, so be sure to mention this to your dentist. Smoking and excessive alcohol also put you at higher risk as well.
5. Make sure you have regular periodontal evaluations.
Not all dentists understand the link between periodontal disease and your health, which is why you should see a specialist. Dr. Greg Sexton is one of the few dentists that offer a holistic approach to your dental care.
If you are concerned about the health of your gums or want to find out how to prevent it from starting, book your appointment today.