Advice From a Doctor: How Dental Health Affects Your Body’s Health

By Dr. Sharon Dickerson DDS

The Link Between Oral and Overall Wellness
Engaging in a holistic approach to care implies an “observance of the whole”1. In other words, the individual is recognized as a whole person with multidimensional aspects of wellness. Thus, in order to maintain true health, all facets of the being must be considered.

Therefore, when engaging in holistic medicine, the health of the oral environment serves as an integral area for reflection. Research continues to illustrate the synergistic relationship between oral health and overall wellness.2 When disharmony is detected in the mouth, it can be an indication of systemic disease. Furthermore, localized oral imbalance should be addressed in order to prevent it from translating to greater issues throughout the body. 

The Common Denominator: Inflammation 

When exploring the connection between oral health and systemic health, the primary factor often relates to inflammation. There is a wide range of elements that may contribute to inflammation originating in the mouth. For example, mercury (amalgam) filings3, pathogenic microbiomes (often stemming from some root canal treated teeth4 & periodontal disease5), and tension in the muscles/ligaments of the jaw joint (TMD) can all instigate oral inflammation. When inflammation is present in the mouth, it is often then distributed throughout the body by way of immune response and the bloodstream.6 This can then manifest in a variety of manner such as: dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infertility, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and more (see diagram below).7 

Diagram Source: Willamette Dental Group

Conversely, inflammation and disharmony that present primarily systemically can also be detected in the mouth. For example, systemic candida overgrowth can materialize as oral thrush.8 Vitamin C deficiencies can cause “trench mouth”.9 Bleeding disorders related to clotting can be diagnosed during dental procedures and are evident in excessive gum bleeding. Poor nutrition (e.g., lacking vitamins and minerals, diets high in sugar) can cause gut inflammation that presents orally as dental decay.10 High acidity in the blood chemistry can present as dental decay and periodontal disease in the mouth.

Thus, it becomes evident that inflammation in the body is not inherently contained to a localized area. In fact, it is often distributed throughout the body via our intricate systems. Ultimately, the oral environment is not immune to the effects of inflammation, and any disease stemming from our mouth can harbor serious health ramifications for our bodies at large. 

How to Safeguard Oral Health

The following recommendations are offered in order to decrease oral inflammation and protect your oral and systemic vitality: 

  • Implement a daily oral hygiene routine: brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes (using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride-free toothpaste) and floss once daily
  • Attend routine dental checkups and cleanings: seek out a holistic dental hygienist to offer support
  • Maintain a healthy diet: consume a diet rich in natural foods while avoiding processed and sugary foods to decrease inflammation 
  • See an alternative care provider: it is recommended to consult a natural care provider in order to ensure your systemic health is optimal, which will thus be reflected in your oral health 

Oral and Systemic Care at Dr. Sharon Dickerson 

At Dr. Sharon Dickerson, each new patient is welcomed into the practice via the Comprehensive Exam. This appointment begins with the patient and doctor first connecting in a non-clinical setting. During this conversation, the doctor will ask thoughtful questions in order to begin understanding the patient’s dental history and the current status of their overall health. Then an intra-oral diagnosis is completed and discussed with the patient. By adhering to this process, Dr. Dickerson ensures that a truly holistic approach is being provided. 

Furthermore, if any disharmony is uncovered during diagnosis, Dr. Dickerson works closely with each patient to explore pathways to health. Oftentimes, this involves both biological dental care, as well as coordination with innovative, alternative medical practitioners. Thus, our patients are supported with a multidimensional approach to restoring whole-body wellness. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Dynamic Dental Solution approaches holistic dental care, please feel welcome to contact our office at 720.842.7002.

Citations 

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/holistic-health
  2. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/oral-health-affects-wellness 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6689266/ 
  4. Swiss BioHealth, 2020. [online] Swiss-biohealth.com. Available at: <https://www.swiss-biohealth.com/wp-content/uploads/swiss-biohealth-concept-2019-en.pdf> [Accessed 5 May 2020].
  5. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2020.609614/full 
  6. https://willamettedental.com/help/patient-education/how-oral-health-affects-your-whole-body-health/ 
  7. https://www.brookhavendentalgroup.com/how-can-poor-oral-health-affect-the-rest-of-the-body/ 
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533#:~:text=Candida%20is%20a%20normal%20organism,the%20back%20of%20your%20throat
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/trench-mouth 
  10. https://www.hillcountryoralsurgery.com/how-your-gut-health-impacts-your-oral-health/ 

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