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The Mouth-Body Connection

There are multiple diseases affecting the body that can have an impact on your oral health. For example; if your immune system is weak, people may get more infections in the mouth. A dental infection can also impact your immune system, which is responsible for managing all infections in the body. Ongoing and untreated dental infections can place added stress on the body and immune system. When the immune system is under large amounts of stress, issues such as dry mouth, poor healing and oral thrush can be seen.

Many medications used to treat conditions or diseases can impact the oral environment. Commonly saliva quantity and/or quality can be affected leading to increased dental decay, an uncomfortable mouth, difficulty eating, talking and sometimes pain. Medications used to treat common issues such as high blood pressure, depression and allergies can impact saliva.

There are times when diseases or disorders are first seen in the mouth – this can include:

  • Vitamin deficiencies e.g. vitamin C (otherwise known as scurvy)
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Immune system deficiencies e.g. thrush
  • Reflux or bulimia due to acid erosion of teeth

Early detection of these bodily diseases at your dental recall will result in earlier treatment and hopefully a better outcome. Your oral health can also affect other medical conditions. For example; if you have diabetes an oral infection can disrupt your blood sugar levels and make your diabetes more difficult to control. There has also shown to be an association between cardiovascular disease and periodontal (gum) disease. In future emails, we plan to give information on specific topics in more detail.