Remember when you were a kid, and you’d go to the doctor and they’d look at your tongue and get you to say ‘aaaaaah’? They were checking out your oral health. Medicine has long used the health of the mouth as an indicator for the health of the rest of the body. If you have a white, furry tongue, or, heaven forbid, a green furry tongue, then something’s not right.
Now research has backed up this tried and tested method of checking health and has discovered that illnesses in the rest of the body are indeed linked to your oral health.
Gum disease, which is a disease of inflammation, often works as a pointer to disease elsewhere in the body. It is often an indicator of heart disease. The idea goes that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels, raising blood pressure and allowing less blood to move through them.
Gum disease may also be linked to birth problems. Women are more likely to get gum disease when they are pregnant as the increased levels of progesterone in the body make life in the mouth more habitable for bacterial plaque. Researchers are investigating whether gum disease in the mother plays a role in low birth weight or babies born with learning disorders, heart conditions or lung conditions.
Gum disease is also linked to lung conditions. When gum disease is treated, fewer bacteria go down into the lungs to exacerbate problems there.
Obesity has also been linked to gum disease, which seems to progress faster when body fat is higher.
What can you do?
You can combat gum disease by having a great oral health routine. This means brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft bristled brush and a good fluoride toothpaste. You need to back this up with a good flossing once a day and perhaps also interdental brushes to remove trapped food.
You also need to come along to Kings Dental in Hammersmith for regular check-ups and cleanings to remove hardened plaque. Between us, we can make sure that your oral health is in A1 condition.