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I suppose it’s a natural mistake to make, but we do tend to regard our oral health as a separate issue from our “health”, as though our mouths were quarantined from the rest of us by some invisible fence.

It’s still a mistake, though. It’s now known that poor oral health is associated with a number of systemic disorders. It certainly appears as though gum disease and consequent loss of teeth are strongly corelated with cardiac disease, and that the mouth may be the breeding ground for bacteria which eventually find a home in the smaller vessels in the heart’s blood supply, causing inflammation and susceptibility to heart attack.

More recent research has revealed a link between gum disease, tooth loss and dementia. Researchers have found that patient who had lived for 10 years or more with chronic gum inflammation were at increased risk of developing Altzheimer’s Disease.

My own suspicion is that these are not the last links to be discerned between what goes on in our mouths and our general health. Apart from its most obvious connection to your gut, the mouth offers a variety of pathways for communication of pathogens to the brain, sinuses, lungs and so forth. It would be strange indeed if no organisms had evolved to exploit these pathways.

So as if keeping your natural teeth and fresh breath weren’t reason enough to keep your gums in good order, it could just be that you’re also preserving nothing less than your general health!

If you think your mouth may be harbouring some unwelcome guests, ask for an appointment to see Dr Sandra today.