The Dental Health and the Human Body
Most of us are completely unaware that the condition of our teeth – the dentition – directly correlates to our overall health. When our teeth and gums are not in good shape due to cavities and gum disease, we are oftentimes in pain. This pain can and will affect how we sleep which in turn affects how well our body can heal from trauma. This is why it is so very important to brush and floss your teeth daily and keep up with your dentist for those ever so exciting cleaning appointments.
Although there are few, if any, great studies on why flossing is so important, its kind of one of those things that are quite obvious. Flossing gets the food particles out from between the teeth and helps to reduce gum disease around the teeth. Both brushing and flossing are critical to good dental health because they reduce the substrate (materials) upon which bacteria can feed. It’s simple: keep the teeth and gums healthy to keep the whole body healthier as well.
The inflammatory reaction causes by unhealthy teeth and gums also correlates with whole body diseases such as respiratory problems, endocarditis, digestive problems, and even low birth weight in newborns. When you have diseased teeth and gums, your body’s immune system has to work double overtime to keep that infection process from getting into the rest of the body and so other body systems are more likely to break down over time.
Another factor that was not really understood in the past was that removing or excising teeth could cause a host of other factors. When a tooth is pulled, the entire face can collapse into itself, which will also collapse a portion of the airway as well. This is well known amongst practitioners who look for sleep disordered breathing issues. The more teeth that are pulled, the more likely a patient will tend toward having sleep apnea. In addition, the more teeth that are removed, the more likely they will have neck problems because tooth removal causes structural changes in the face that transfer into the neck.
A far less understood reason for keeping the teeth is to support the temporomandibular joint and the articular disc that protects the top of the jaw from banging into the socket. As a person loses more teeth, the face will collapse backward, and this will push the top of the jaw further into the socket. This will in turn damage the protective discs inside the jaw joint. When those discs slip out of place, this can cause severe and debilitating pain. It really is unfortunate how little this field of dentistry is understood, which is why there are only a few specialists who deal with it. TMJ disorder can and does lead to migraine, head and facial pain, cervical neck pain, tremors, and even Tourette’s syndrome.
The message is to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and you will have a better life.