The phrase oral-systemic health refers to the connection between oral health and whole-body, or systemic, health. Research has shown and continues to uncover a direct interweaving of oral and overall health. When you consider that everything in your mouth has direct access to the inside of your body, the link makes perfect sense. Your mouth is like a portal to your body’s internal workings.
Dr. Erpenbach is proud to be a founding member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, an organization that brings an array of doctors from many fields, including dentistry, together in an effort to educate the public and study the connection between oral and overall health. Here are just a few ways your mouth’s health influences your body’s health:
- Gum disease affects up to 80% of Americans, and it increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes complications, low-weight births, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and may also influence the development of certain cancers.
- Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause tooth decay and contribute to gum disease, can enter an abrasion in the mouth and get into the bloodstream. If the immune system does not defeat the bacteria, it can travel to the heart within a matter of seconds. There, the bacteria attach to the lining of heart valves and cause inflammation. This condition, known as endocarditis, is potentially fatal.