Effective oral healthcare is essential to continued general health and well-being throughout life. A healthy mouth allows not only nutrition for the body, but also enhances social and mental well-being, promoting self-esteem. The health of the mouth can also give early indications of general health disorders.
- Mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection
- Ulcers are occasionally an indication of Coeliac or Crohn’s disease
- Pale and bleeding gums can be a marker for blood disorders
- Bone loss in the lower jaw can be an early indicator of skeletal osteoporosis
- Changes in tooth appearance can indicate bulimia or anorexia.
- Traces of many compounds such as alcohol, nicotine, drugs, hormones, toxins and antibodies present in the body can also be detected in the saliva.
Mouth conditions have an impact on overall health and disease. Mouth bacteria can cause infection in other parts of the body if the immune system has been affected by disease or medical treatments such as Endocarditis, an infection of the heart muscle wall. General health conditions and their treatment are also known to impact oral health causing side effects such as reduced saliva flow and changes in the natural balance of the mouth.
Gum disease (Periodontitis) has been associated with a number of general health conditions. Though the link between oral conditions such as gum disease and other medical conditions are still not fully understood. It is clear that serious long-term diseases like cancer and heart disease share common risk factors with gum disease.
Recent research by the University of Central Lancashire has discovered the presence of a bacteria (Porphyromonas Gingivalis) associated with Gum Disease in the brain tissues of patients who suffered with Dementia. The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease analysed donated brain tissue samples from 10 patients with Dementia and compared them with brain tissue samples from people who never had the disease. Examination of the samples revealed the presence of the bacteria in the samples of brain tissue affected by Dementia.
A healthy mouth and body are integral to each other emphasising the need for whole body ethos when considering and completing treatment.