Why You Need Healthy Gums for a Healthy Body

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but your dentist might say your mouth is the window to your overall health! The intricate connection between our oral health and overall well-being, commonly referred to as the mouth-body connection, is a rapidly emerging area of research.

The mouth-body connection truly emphasizes the role of gum health in maintaining a healthy body. Alarmingly, gum inflammation, often seen as a minor annoyance by many, doesn’t just stay in the mouth. It can trigger systemic inflammation, a root cause of many diseases that impact our overall health.

Today, we’ll unearth the mouth-body connection, explore why systemic inflammation and gum health are intertwined, and tell you how your Ada, OK, dentist can help.

What is inflammation and why does it happen?

Inflammation is essentially the body’s natural defense mechanism in response to infection, illness, and trauma.

When the body senses harm, it releases chemical messengers known as cytokines and chemokines. These work as alarm signals, calling white blood cells and other immune cells to the area of concern. Their mission? To destroy any foreign invaders like bacteria and repair any damaged tissue. This is a crucial function our body performs to protect us and maintain our health.

Think of an inflammatory response like your body’s personal repair and maintenance team working around the clock to ensure everything is in the best possible condition. Although inflammation is often considered a negative, it’s actually a great thing when it occurs temporarily. It’s when inflammation becomes chronic that trouble occurs.

What are the different levels of inflammation?

Inflammation can be classified into two broad categories: localized or acute inflammation and systemic or chronic inflammation.

Localized, or acute, inflammation is a rapid response to an immediate issue, like a cut or a sprained ankle. It’s our body’s first line of defense, working to heal and protect the affected area. You might observe signs such as redness, heat, swelling, and pain. These symptoms usually subside after the problem is addressed, indicating the end of the healing process.

On the other hand, systemic or chronic inflammation is long-term and isn’t confined to a specific area. Rather, it affects the entire body. This type of inflammation usually occurs when there’s an ongoing issue the body can’t resolve, and it’s continually signaling for inflammation. It’s like a fire alarm that never turns off, causing the body’s own defensive response to become a threat. Over time, chronic inflammation damages healthy cells, tissues, and organs, contributing to many inflammatory diseases.

Why causes systemic inflammation in the body?

Systemic inflammation in the body can occur due to various triggers, including a disrupted balance in the body’s microbiome. Another key player in systemic inflammation is diet. Consuming foods that are highly processed or rich in sugars, saturated fats, and artificial additives can trigger inflammatory responses in the body.

Beyond diet, lifestyle choices such as physical inactivity, enduring stress, lack of sufficient sleep, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake can fuel systemic inflammation.

Certain medical conditions like autoimmune disorders, ongoing infections, and metabolic syndromes can contribute to persistent inflammation. Therefore, it is crucial to manage these conditions under the guidance of a healthcare professional. In conjunction with this, maintaining a balanced lifestyle is fundamental for mitigating the risk of systemic inflammation.

What’s the link between systemic inflammation and dental health?

Systemic inflammation and dental health are intrinsically linked, with a growing amount of scientific evidence supporting this mouth-body connection.

One theory behind this relationship is that chronic gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can be an underlying source of systemic inflammation. The bacteria causing gum inflammation can enter the bloodstream, spreading to other parts of the body and causing a systemic inflammatory response. This not only exacerbates existing inflammatory diseases, but may also trigger the onset of new ones. In essence, our mouth serves as a gateway, and if gum disease is present, it has the potential to negatively impact our overall health.

Another perspective posits that the reverse is also true. Treating underlying health conditions that cause systemic inflammation could directly improve dental health. Similarly, addressing oral inflammation by treating gum disease can have a positive impact on overall health by reducing systemic inflammation.

Dental professionals emphasize the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and regular appointments to monitor and manage gum health, thus helping you to maintain a balance in the oral microbiome and contributing to overall systemic health.

Keep your gums healthy with regular checkups and cleanings.

Biannual dental checkups and cleanings play a pivotal role in preventing gum inflammation, curbing the potential for systemic inflammation, and fostering overall health. By keeping a check on your oral microbiome, you’re not just ensuring your gums stay healthy, but you’re also taking a proactive step towards maintaining your body’s health.

Proactively taking measures to prevent and treat gum inflammation can be a significant step towards achieving better overall health. Schedule your regular checkup and cleaning at Ada Smile Place today, and give your health the comprehensive care it deserves.