Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley CA
What do heart disease, dementia, and diabetes have in common? These are all chronic conditions that can threaten your way of life, harm your overall health, and have complications that actually could be fatal. And if you want to prevent developing these three issues, you need to make sure your oral health is in good order. Read on as Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry explains the importance of oral health in maintaining overall health, and how following an oral/systemic wellness program can help.
The mouth-body connection
Your mouth does more than just ingest food and drinks. It’s also the point of entry for bacteria—good and bad—that end up traveling through your system and settling in your stomach, as well as your small and large intestines. Going all the way back to ancient times, practitioners of the healing arts have examined the tongue as a diagnostic method to evaluate the health of internal organs such as the stomach, kidneys, lungs, and spleen.
The theory behind these ancient diagnoses holds true but has evolved hand in hand with medical science. Today, your Scotts Valley dentists can perform a salivary test that can detect bad bacteria that have been known to lead to cardiovascular disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Once these potentially serious pathogens have been detected, the goal is to eliminate them without harming or killing the good bacteria in your system. This bacterial balance is referred to as the microbiome, and it exists throughout your body: in the digestive system, the mouth, and even the brain. The microbiome in your gut plays a pivotal role in so much more than just digestion. It helps with the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in maintaining your sleep, your mood, your immune system, and even your pain tolerance.
When it comes to maintaining oral/systemic wellness, limiting inflammation is key
Inflammation is one of the great threats to your overall health. Inflammation increases if you suffer from diabetes. It is a driving force behind problems such as dementia and heart disease. Several oral conditions and behaviors can increase inflammation. These include having poor dental hygiene, regularly breathing through the mouth, or having an airway problem such as upper airway resistance syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea.
For these reasons, two of the main goals of an oral/systemic wellness program are to maintain an open airway and also find or regain ideal rest oral posture. The former goal increases the overall oxygen levels in your system, helping to reduce the proliferation of bad bacteria and potentially harmful pathogens, while also lowering inflammation levels. Ideal oral resting posture—with lips closed, teeth closed, and the tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth—encourages the recommended method of breathing through the nose, which also helps reduce inflammation and provides greater oxygenation in the blood. Once these negative bacteria and pathogens have been reduced or completely eliminated, a dentist who follows a program of oral/systemic wellness will compose a personalized plan of oral hygiene for you to follow, which will prevent these negative bacteria from organizing and causing potential problems in the future.
Oral wellness means more than just your teeth
The term “oral” can be used to relate to both good and bad bacteria in the oral system, or specific parts of the orofacial system such as the tongue, cheeks, tonsils, adenoids, airway, throat, nose, sinuses, and soft palate. Keeping an open airway is crucial to maintaining a high level of oral wellness. This can be achieved through the use of oral appliance therapy in cases of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea, or by prescribing a course of myofunctional therapy—a series of simple and easy exercises that work the musculature of the orofacial system (mouth and tongue muscles). Once oral/systemic wellness has been improved, we will do follow-up testing every few months, either in the form of more salivary tests, blood work, or a sleep study.
Dentistry in Scotts Valley benefiting the entire body
At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we believe in the mouth-body connection—that good oral health plays a huge role in maintaining good overall health. Learn more about our services by scheduling a consultation or a tour of our facility today by calling (831) 438-4411.
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves patients in the areas of Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California.