Everybody knows that teeth are connected to the jaw, but did you know they’re also connected to the pancreas? Spleen? Brain? Every organ in your body, in fact. First and foremost, they’re connected by the bloodstream. And blood travels fast. When Dr. Ralph Steinman of Loma Linda University injected dye into a rat’s stomach, within minutes, the dye showed up in the inner pulp chamber of a tooth. Within an hour, it could be seen in the enamel.
This connection via the circulation is why any infection in your mouth causes a risk to your overall health. It’s why patients with chronic inflammatory illnesses that don’t respond to medication finally show improvement once they address the health of their teeth.
By ridding the mouth and teeth of chronic infections, blood sugar levels can decrease, arthritis can become less painful, thyroid hormones can regulate, and symptoms from diseases such as Lyme can be managed.
Here are just a few interesting facts about the tooth-body connection:
- Saliva keeps your teeth bathed in minerals, helping keep the enamel strong. But antidepressants and some other medications cause dry mouth. Without their regular mineral wash, the teeth become much more susceptible to disease.
- Osteoporosis, cancer, Lyme, lupus, autism and seizures can be made worse by the presence of mercury amalgam “silver” fillings or chronic infection in the mouth.
- Even the cleanest mouth is full of bacteria and other microbes – up to 1000 different species and 100,000 bacteria living on each tooth. Not all of them are harmful. Some are essential to good health. And some health conditions, such as IBS and leaky gut, can alter this balance for the worse. (By the way, when the mouth isn’t clean, there can be up to a billion bacteria on each tooth!)
- Alzheimer’s and reproductive issues have both been related to the health of the teeth. And radiation medications severely alter their health.
- Oral conditions put you at risk for a wide range of systemic diseases. These include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, GI issues, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and more.
Visiting your dentist is about far more than just the health of your teeth. It’s about your health, period.