Here at OraWellness, one of the recurring themes we write about is the relationship between oral health and whole body health.
Being holistically minded, this mouth/body connection has always made sense to us, especially since the mouth is the main point of entry we use to put new ‘stuff’ into our bodies on a daily basis.
We know that things that are happening in our bodies, like stress or nutrient deficiencies, can affect our oral health.
We’ve also touched on how taking action in the mouth can help lower our risk for a heart attack as well as some simple, mouth-based habits we can cultivate to help heal other whole body issues like leaky gut.
But can our oral health actually cause whole body health issues?
Can poor oral health actually cause a breakdown in our whole body wellness? And if so, what can we do to stop this disease process?
The short answer to both questions is, yes.
Several studies in recent years continue to strongly suggest that a decline in our oral health can cause whole body disease. First, we’ll take a look at what’s going on with this. Then, we’ll take a look at what we can do to prevent or address the gum disease that’s creating these other, whole body problems.
Meet the microbial thugs…
In particular, researchers have found that two microbes strongly implicated with gum disease can actually cause rheumatoid arthritis.(1)
The thug bugs, P. Gingivalis and A. Actinomycetemcomitans (or PG and AA for short), produce an enzyme that can cause certain proteins in our bodies to change shape. If this gum-disease-induced cycle of protein damage is left unchecked and becomes chronic, our immune system becomes hyper-sensitized to these altered proteins, starts to identify them as invaders and attack them.
Unfortunately, these proteins are commonly found in our connective tissues. Over time, this immune system attack on our own connective tissues results in the joint damage we see in both periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Both of these diseases are essentially the same thing; progressive damage of connective tissues near bone implant machine. (2)
For rheumatoid arthritis, the outcome is painful joint damage. In the mouth, the outcome is a loss of the connective tissue that holds our teeth firmly rooted in our jaw bone, which is why periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults.
According to one study, “Converging and reproducible evidence now makes a clear case for the role of specific periodontal infective pathogens in initiating, amplifying and perpetuating rheumatoid arthritis.”
Why would the ‘thug bugs’ that colonize in oral gum pockets be found all over the body?
Unfortunately, the microbes implicated with gum disease don’t stay in the mouth contra angle handpiece. They can (and do) make their way into the entire blood system via the capillaries in our gum tissue.
If we allow these thug bugs to establish themselves in our mouths and colonize in our gum pockets, they will undermine our health. And for anyone with a genetic tendency toward joint issues, chronic, unaddressed gum disease can actually cause rheumatoid arthritis.
This is why we consider bleeding gums (from gentle flossing) to be the iconic warning sign. If your gums bleed when gently flossed, this means that thug bugs have access to your entire body via the bloodstream. dental implant machine