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  • Writer's pictureKirsty Gayton

Putting the Mouth Back in the Body

We recently went to an interesting lecture given by a consultant radiologist on the link between gum disease and diseases in other parts of the body.  Unfortunately, the mouth is often seen as separate from the body, perhaps because Dentistry is very much a separate entity from the rest of healthcare. Doctors and dentists, through research, are learning that this is very much not the case and the mouth is intrinsically linked with the rest of the body.


Did you know that there is a small break in the gums so that bacteria can get directly into your bloodstream and circulate elsewhere in the body?  You can see evidence of this if your gums have ever bled.  It means there is a direct breach of the small blood vessels in your gums leaking into your mouth.  This breach works in both directions.


There are now many studies showing a strong link between gum disease and a range of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and dementia.  One of the main bacteria implicated in gum disease (Porphyromonous gingivalis) has been found in parts of the body very distant from the mouth.  This bacterium has the ability to create lots of inflammation, which is how it can cause damage.  So looking after your gums not only benefits your oral health but potentially many other areas of the body! 


In fact, for diabetics, treating gum disease can have the same benefit as giving an extra diabetic medication.


At your dental examinations, the dentist will be checking for gum disease and monitoring this carefully.  Some of our patients may need to see the hygienist more often, in order to clean under the gum thoroughly to remove the unhealthy bacteria.


But however often you see the hygienist, the most important factor in oral health is YOU and YOUR CLEANING, so remember to brush really well twice a day, and get in between the teeth using floss or TePe brushes every day!

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