"Inflammation in your mouth...
...is a sign of inflammation in your body"
What is the Mouth-Body Connection?
How does stuff around the teeth and gums actually get to other parts of the body? Surrounding each tooth is a tight seal around the neck of the tooth. This tight seal is designed to keep any elements out. If they were able to pass through into the systemic tissues from the mouth, the immune system would immediately have its hands full.
In a healthy mouth with no infection, the seal is tight and the pathway between mouth bacteria and the bloodstream is closed. When an infection is present in the gums, the seal is weakened and elements from the outside environment can get past the gums and into the bloodstream.
Once you get past that seal, bacteria goes to the rest of the body through one of the following ways:
- Infection. Once in the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can travel to virtually any other site in the body.
- Injury. Bacteria in the blood often turn into something else like proteins or exotoxins that can injure tissue even permanently.
- Inflammation. Bacteria get into the bloodstream and the body responds to this invasion with a vigorous immune response, raising your body temperature and producing an inflammatory reaction. If you have gum disease, these bacteria are constantly getting into the blood and causing constant inflammation.
Since we age and die of inflammatory diseases, it’s critical to minimize the chronic inflammatory response in the body.
Conditions that can be caused or complicated by an Oral Infection (Like Gum Disease)
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Weight gain
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Cardiovascular disease including stroke, heart attack, infective endocarditis, and thickening of the arteries
- Low birthweight and premature birth
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
As you can tell, teeth have a lot more to do with our overall health than you'd think. But when you see first hand how your mouth and the rest of your body are connected, making better oral health decisions might come a little easier.