Oral-Systemic Connection- – Fix the Cause, Not the Symptom
A recent dental journal article described at length the oral-systemic connection, that is, the influence that teeth and gums have on the whole body (the “system”) and vice-versa. . He referenced the overwhelming attention this subject receives in the dental and medical literature.
As an example, the common knowledge in dentistry is that, if left untreated, periodontitis (inflammation of the gums) causes progressive bone loss around the teeth, tooth loosening and eventual tooth loss. Periodontitis is a very common disease that affects approximately 50% of American adults over the age of 30.
As if that were not enough, here is an even stronger message. The author of the article listed many adverse effects of periodontitis on the rest of the body: heart disease, stroke, lung dysfunction, premature babies, low birth weight, osteoporotic diseases, diabetes mellitus and even syndromes neuropathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Understanding the oral-systemic connection in the dental community is a huge breakthrough. I was thrilled to see what I had practiced for many years finally revealed in a mainstream dental journal.
However, I was deeply disappointed. The article repeatedly focused on “preventive periodontal management” and “maintaining regular periodontal examinations”. By doing so, according to the article, potential systemic complications will be significantly reduced. What a desappointment. The article started with an incredibly important premise and completely avoided the real conclusion.
Ask yourself: if we continue to manage the disease, are we solving the problem? Chronic systemic inflammation will continue to persist throughout the body until we learn to balance body chemistry. Good body chemistry is imperative for good health. When your body is balanced, you will be healthy. When your body is out of balance, you will have disease.
Answer this: Where can you see your own skeleton? Seriously, you can see your skeleton. The answer: When you smile or open your mouth. Your teeth are the only visible part of your skeleton. Your mouth is the easiest place to see what’s going on, not just to your teeth and gums, but to your overall health.
The junction formed by your teeth and the biological seal that surrounds them is very sensitive to changes in blood sugar, hormones, the immune system, and stress, to name a few. This gummy junction serves as a good monitor of inflammation and connective tissue breakdown both in the mouth and elsewhere.
If your diet deviates by 10% from your biological norm, it may first manifest as dental disease, gum inflammation or tooth decay. If it deviates further, you could have arthritis. Any greater deviation and you could suffer a heart attack or even get cancer. These illnesses often indicate an unhealthy lifestyle and diet that your whole body is no longer able to compensate for.
I don’t believe that periodontal disease is the underlying cause of many systemic problems. I believe it is a symptom that manifests with other imbalances or chronic conditions that occur elsewhere in the body. There is, however, a common link that can help resolve most of the imbalances that lead to disease: nutrition.
Nutritional support is one step in the process of correcting imbalances in the teeth, gums and body. As you understand the undeniable importance of this “oral-systemic” connection, your motivation for nutritional support will increase dramatically.