A complete health dentist tailors treatment to cover oral health in relation to the general health of their patient. They will emphasize proactive, preventative measures to maintain the health of the mouth and by extension, the rest of the body.
When crafting corrective treatment for a dental problem, the dentist takes their patient’s systemic health into account. This usually involves consulting with the patient’s primary care physician if need be.
A common overlap between systemic and oral health is the gums, and their potential to affect the health of the lungs. Here is what a complete health dentist wants you to know about the link between your gums and your lungs.
Mouth bacteria, gum health, and lungs: A complete health dentist explains
A healthy mouth is its own small ecosystem, with a balance of both benign and potentially harmful bacteria. Keeping the mouth healthy is as simple as maintaining good oral habits. Good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups can keep the mouth in perfect health for a lifetime.
In contrast, poor oral health comes with thriving mouth bacteria that cause inflammation and infection. This results in dental health problems like cavities, tooth decay, or pulpitis. A person who suffers from poor oral health is also at risk of chronic conditions like gum disease.
When bacterial infection takes hold in the mouth, it can spread to nearby organ systems. There are studies that examine the correlation between periodontal disease and various heart conditions. Bacterial infection of the teeth and/or gums can also affect the lungs.
Gum disease and its possible effect on the lungs
Harmful mouth bacteria can cause inflammation that affects the mouth and the rest of the body. Chronic inflammation puts the body in a constant state of high alert, which triggers physiological changes like the accumulation of blood plasma and distended blood vessels. If these changes happen in the lungs or airway, a person will experience obstruction and other respiratory symptoms.
Gum disease also reduces the airway’s ability to trap, bind, destroy, and expel pathogens. This allows disease-causing organisms that would usually never make it past the upper airway to find their way to the lungs. The result is a patient who is vulnerable to various kinds of respiratory illnesses. These illnesses may range from a simple flu to bacterial pneumonia.
Proactive measures to ensure oral and systemic health are simple
It takes something as basic as good oral habits to maintain the health of the mouth as well as the respiratory system. Brushing twice a day, flossing, a healthy diet, and periodic dental checkups go a long way to ensure great oral health.
For patients with underlying health problems like periodontal disease or a bad bite, a complete health dentist is there to help. They will create a treatment plan that takes your health status and medication regimen into account.