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Your Healthy Family: The oral-systemic connection between your mouth and body

Posted at 3:22 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 17:43:20-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family, we are talking about the continued transition to a world where we live with COVID-19. Staying healthy should be at the top of people’s minds and it’s a good time to remind you about the importance of having a strong immune system to protect you from any number of outside invaders, such as germs, bacteria, viruses and more.

While vaccines, diet and exercise all play a key role in a strong immune system so does keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean.

Dr. Fred Guerra, DMD with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs tells me, “Over the last few years people’s immune system has been decreased, and we’re seeing more issues of rampant periodontal disease contributing to other issues.”

What other kinds of issues are we talking about exactly? Gum disease can lead to so much more than cavities or tooth loss. Dr. Guerra says things like, “A higher risk of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, pre-diabetic issues, and stroke. Another significant issue that has been conclusively proven is adverse outcomes on early pregnancy and things like that.”

If you’re wondering exactly how gum disease leads to these types of more serious issues, remember your mouth is the gateway to your body - and not just for food.

Dr. Guerra explains, “Everybody has bacteria in their mouth but its the level of bacteria or the bio-burden. It’s that coexistence that helps us maintain an equilibrium so we’re not losing our teeth, and we’re not developing decay or bone loss.”

When that balance in the mouth is lost and inflammation and infection take over Dr. Guerra says, “The inflammatory products in the mouth enter the bloodstream and then they become systemic, meaning those inflammatory products go to every other organ in our body. Now about 47% of patients 30 and older have some degree of periodontal inflammation and issues in their mouth. About 70% of adults over the age of 65 have some significant periodontal or inflammatory conditions going on in the mouth.”

In our next story Dr. Guerra will talk about these systemic problems that begin in the mouth preventing other needed medical procedures, and the dentist's role in not letting things get to that point.

Guerra Dental is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family