Wellness Connected to Oral and Organ Health
Health can be defined as physical and mental well-being and freedom from disease and pain. Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks asked Dr. Owen Allison, DMD, and Dr. David Schwartz, DDS, to describe the link between oral health and organ health. “Overall health begins and ends with the health of our teeth and mouths in general,” says Allison.
Schwartz concurs, “An unhealthy mouth can affect the rest of the body in numerous ways.
Digestion begins in the mouth. “Eating slowly and breaking down food by chewing properly with a mouth full of healthy teeth efficiently releases essential nutrients into the body,” explains Schwartz. “Coating food with saliva will allow the digestive enzymes present in saliva to begin their tasks, but it takes time.”
“When we chew food, enzymes in our saliva start the process of digestion. Sore, broken or missing teeth will not break the food down effectively enough for the enzymes to do their work,” describes Allison.
“Once the food enters the stomach, the acid stops the salivary enzymes,” notes Schwarz. “If the stomach receives food that has not been prepared in the mouth, constant stress is put on the stomach, small and large intestines. This prevents the proper absorption of nutrients, leading to leaky gut and other maladies of the intestine.
“Bacteria that live just under the gums can cause infection of the gums and the bone around the teeth,” says Schwartz. “They eat the bone, causing the teeth to become loose and eventually lost. Good daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent infection, and regular dental cleanings help with harder-to-reach areas. If infection gets to the bone, it can get into the blood stream.
“This has been shown to increase the body’s inflammatory response, which in turn increases a person’s risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and more,” observes Schwartz.
Allison states, “Poor oral health causing infected, bleeding gums and foul breath allows oral bacteria to circulate throughout the body in the blood system affecting all of the organs, most notably the heart. Autopsy on heart attack victims most often reveals the presence of oral bacteria in the heart and major arteries. The health of the mouth is key to the health of the organ system, and the organ system is key to overall heath,” affirms Allison.
Owen Allison, DMD, owns Susquehanna Dental Arts, located at 100 S. 18th St., in Columbia. For more information, call 717-684-3943 or visit SusquehannaDentalArts.com.
David Schwartz, DDS, owns Schwartz Family Dental, located at 9 Bristol Ct., in Wyomissing. For more information, call 610-670-6910 or visit SchwartzFamilyDental.com.