oral health and systemic wellness

The link between Oral Health and Systemic Wellness

oral health and systemic wellnessThousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

Have you ever heard about the mouth-body connection? This refers to a theory that your oral health significantly impacts your physical well-being. At Integrative Dental Arts, not only do we believe in this philosophy, but also that it plays an integral role in the way we care for our patients in Agoura Hills and Westlake Village. Let’s take a deeper look at the relationship between oral health and systemic wellness.

What do heart disease, dementia, and diabetes have in common?

All three are chronic ailments that can destroy your way of life—and all three could start with symptoms that are detected in the mouth. Your mouth is the point of entry for nutrition, but also for bacteria that end up in your digestive system. Going back all the way to ancient times, healers and physicians have looked at the tongue as an indicator of the health of organs such as the stomach, kidney, lungs, and spleen.

Now for the good news… your holistic dentists in Agoura Hills can determine if you have bacteria or infections that could be a precedent to one of these serious diseases. The diagnosis is made with a simple salivary test. If your saliva contains bad pathogens, it can be a sign you are at a greater risk of one of these chronic ailments.

A dentist that believes in the mouth-body connection does much more than just treat your teeth

Some of the goals of this whole-health approach to dentistry include widening the airway, encouraging greater oxygenation in the blood, and performing treatments to reduce the prevalence of harmful microorganisms in the mouth. Harmful bacteria in the mouth proliferate in environments where there are low levels of oxygen—also known as anaerobic bacteria. Encouraging a more open airway and providing treatments that encourage nasal breathing lends itself to higher oxygen levels throughout your system, minimizing these harmful bacteria, while also lowering overall levels of inflammation in the body.

The same bacteria that can make you more susceptible to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, also cause gum disease—an infection that develops in the tissue of the gums. Integrative Dental Arts can treat periodontal disease with some of the latest advances in dental science, including the use of laser technology. Our dentists Dr. Kathleen Carson and Dr. Cristina Markiewicz also can compose an individualized treatment plan to eliminate any oral pathogens that can raise your risk of contracting a serious disease. Once these bacteria have been removed, we can provide a customized routine of oral hygiene to prevent any additional colonization of these pathogens. We also aim to reduce inflammation, which plays a pivotal role in the development of everything from heart disease to a sleep-breathing disorder such as sleep apnea.

Your oral system goes far beyond just your teeth

For a dentist who believes in the mouth-body connection, the term “oral health” includes not just the teeth, tongue, and gums, but also the cheeks, tonsils, adenoids, soft palate, and throat, as well as how every aspect of your mouth affect your body, and your health. Your oral system begins at the nose and sinuses and then extends into the airway itself. Even the cervical spine and neck are involved in the oral system.

Something as simple as a cold can make you more vulnerable to collapses of the airway. This also creates negative pressure, potentially drawing out acid from the stomach and exacerbating a host of potential digestive issues including reflux.

Whole health dentistry in Agoura Hills

When we welcome a new patient into our office at Integrative Dental Arts, we perform an extremely thorough exam. This process includes taking a full series of photographs to help track your teeth, mouth, and face; a conversation to discuss any concerns you may have; screenings for oral cancer, blood pressure problems, and gum disease; a physical examination of your teeth, as well as to detect any potential areas of muscle discomfort or problems with jaw function. This exam also usually includes taking digital X-rays, which take images that are clearer and more precise while emitting a mere fraction of the radiation.

Led by our dentists Dr. Carson and Dr. Markiewicz, our team of professionals seeks to provide the highest possible level of quality care. To learn more about our program of care and how good oral health can lead to greater systemic wellness, give us a call at (818) 889-0400 to schedule your initial consultation or new patient exam today.

Integrative Dental Arts serves patients in the areas of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in southern California.