One of the things that sets Firouzian Dentistry apart from other dental practices is our emphasis on holistic dentistry. Holistic dentistry recognizes that the silos of medicine and dentistry aren’t accurate to our bodies. The body is a whole, and the health of the entire body depends on the health of all the parts.

One insight that helps us understand this is that oral bacteria–the cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and more oral health problems–are not just bad for your mouth, they’re bad for your health in a host of ways. By preventing and treating oral disease, Columbus, OH holistic dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian can help you reduce these risks for you.

woman suffering from jaw pain

Diabetes and Gum Disease

One of the most complex relationships between oral health and overall health is that between diabetes and gum disease. Diabetes can increase your risk of gum disease for a number of reasons, such as increased systemic inflammation and decreased immune system function. This means that even if you are practicing good oral hygiene, with diabetes, you are more likely to get gum disease.

On the other hand, if you have gum disease, it makes it harder to control your blood sugar levels. Like other chronic infections, gum disease leads to higher blood sugar levels.

The good news here is that gum disease treatment has been proven to be effective at reducing blood sugar levels.

Arterial Plaque and Heart Disease

Oral bacteria don’t stay in your mouth. They enter your bloodstream and travel through your body. Some bacteria collect in your arteries. There, they become a significant contributor to the plaque buildup that increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Not only that, but the fat clogging your arteries is at least partly produced by oral bacteria, rather than the food you eat.

Gum disease also contributes to high blood pressure. In a study published just this year, otherwise healthy people with gum disease were twice as likely to have high blood pressure than those without gum disease. In this case, inflammation is considered to be the key link between gum disease and blood pressure.

Infections of Blood, Lungs, and Brain

Once bacteria leave your mouth, they retain their ability to infect your body. Oral bacteria can contribute to infections throughout the body. For example, inhaled bacteria associated with gum disease have been linked to pneumonia.

Infections in abscessed teeth can be particularly dangerous, as bacteria can spread from there to infect the sinuses and the brain, which can be fatal. An abscessed tooth can also lead to a deadly blood infection, septicemia.

Autoimmune Disorders

Gum disease is a chronic infection that can have negative effects on your immune system. One of the potential effects is that your immune system can become disordered, attacking your own body. In its severe form, gum disease is itself a form of autoimmune disorder, where your immune system does as much damage to your gums and bone as bacteria do.

Gum disease has been linked to many types of autoimmune disorders, but the strongest link is with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Researchers have established a direct causal link between gum disease and RA.

Dementia Risk

For a long time, researchers have established a correlation between gum disease and dementia. People with gum disease have a higher risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, at a younger age.

In recent years, though, the connection has grown much stronger. Researchers have demonstrated that specific toxins produced by certain bacteria in gum disease are commonly found in brains impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. New population studies affirm the strong link between gum disease and dementia.

Elevated Cancer Risk

Cancer risk is one of the hardest links to prove with gum disease. This is in part because there are so many factors to cancer risk that it can be hard to isolate the role of all the risk factors. There are some who argue that gum disease does not increase cancer risk. However, large review studies reveal a small but significant increase in the risk of oral, lung, and pancreatic cancer for people with gum disease.

More recent research suggests a much higher risk of stomach and esophageal cancer linked to gum disease.

Kidney Disease

Our kidneys do important work of filtering toxins from our blood. Kidney failure can require ongoing, expensive, and invasive treatment. Many studies have shown that gum disease can increase kidney disease risks, partly through the link between gum disease and diabetes. Like gum disease and diabetes, kidney disease may have a bidirectional relationship with gum disease. Gum disease contributes to kidney damage, but damaged kidneys can lead to worsening gum disease.

Dentistry Contributes to Whole-Body Wellness in Columbus, OH

If you are looking for a dentist who understands the links between oral and overall health in Columbus, OH, consider Firouzian Dentistry. Dr. Mike takes a holistic approach to dentistry that helps improve your overall health. We do more than just typical cleanings, we offer PerioProtect and help you to maintain a healthy oral microbiome so good bacteria can help you stay healthy.

Our holistic approach goes beyond gum disease to include treatment for sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorders. It even includes the use of epigenetic oral appliances that can tap your body’s genetic potential to reshape your face and create a more attractive bone structure.

To learn more about how holistic dentistry can help you, please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with Dr. Mike at Firouzian Dentistry in Columbus, OH.