Dr. Daniyar, how is it possible that mouth health may have such a strong influence on one’s well being? For example, I know that people with any heart problem or high blood pressure are strongly recommended to take great care of their teeth and gums. In other words, where is the connection between teeth/gums and heart?
-Great question!! Let’s look closer. Remember I said that our mouth is quite a unique system? It naturally harbors more than 300 bacterial species, for which oral cavity is like all-inclusive resort: constant temperature, abundant food and even alcohol in some cases to add to the comparison with a traditional all inclusive resort image. Now jokes aside, while vast majority of those bacteria are harmless co-habitants, some of the species are capable of considerable harm given certain circumstances. When allowed to grow uncontrollably and form billions of colonies (as in cases of poor oral care, uncontrolled tooth decay and/or tartar build up) those bacteria are triggering our immune system’s response in a form of inflammation that can vary from mild to severe. One can imagine this process as if two strong armies, one of which is an intruder and the other one is a defense force collide in a fierce battle. As the battle goes on, the battlefield gets destroyed.
The latter one being our own tissues and organs exposed to this conflict. Furthermore, the bacteria are also capable of penetrating deeper into our bodies thus contaminating fairly remote areas. Immune system immediately detects such intrusion event and the battle is now taken to the other part of our body, new battlefield is formed and more destruction incurred. You can guess the rest. Obviously, this was very simplified explanation of the mechanism how oral health may be so influential, but that gives you and our readers a main idea. That is why uncontrolled dental decay and gum disease present a great deal of risk to those whose health has already been compromised by other conditions such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc.
In my clinical practice my team and I handle multiple requests/referrals from prudent orthopedic and transplant surgeons as well as oncologists and cardiologists to provide comprehensive oral care, pre- and postoperative dental treatment for those who undergo any invasive procedures involving body joints and organs replacement, open heart surgeries or chemotherapy. And this is exactly why sometimes we prescribe antibiotics to those patients that are seen at greater risk of bacterial spread from invasive dental procedures.
And here is another recent report that I thought would be noteworthy. A small study published online in the journal GUT suggests that certain types of mouth bacteria, some of which are found in gum disease are linked to the development of pancreatic cancer and/or inflammation of pancreatic gland. Though more research is needed there is a hope that oral bacteria screenings can be utilized as early predictor of such deadly disease as pancreatic cancer. Future will surely show, but that goes to show us that oral health is as important as ever, given we live longer and good health is paramount.
-Great information as always, Dr. Daniyar!! I am absolutely certain our Readers will find this as valuable and as comprehensible as our previous discussions. Meanwhile, could you kindly remind us how you can be contacted by those who might have further questions?
-As before, I invite everyone to visit our Naples Implant and Laser Dental Center web site at www.shinesmile.com and send us their questions, or call us to schedule a consultation at (239)261-8200. We are a comprehensive care dental practice specializing in regenerative, cosmetic and implant dentistry located close to downtown Naples and will be more than happy to help.
To be continued…