What Does Your Mouth Say About Your Overall Health?

While maintaining good oral health is proven to prevent bad breath, as well as tooth decay and gum disease, many are surprised to learn that up to 90% of systemic diseases manifest orally. Gum disease, in particular, may suggest that individuals are at a greater risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or early labor. Mouth lesions are often the first sign of HIV or AIDS, while saliva has become a diagnostic tool for detecting high cortisol levels. Thus, when asked, what does your mouth say about your overall health? A look inside or a quick swab of saliva speaks volumes about what’s going on in the rest of the body.

Consider the following health conditions and how they are related to oral health:

Endocarditis (Heart Infection)

When bacteria are present in the mouth, it can wreak havoc on gum tissues and teeth. Yet, it can also travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. When bacteria reach the heart and attach to the lining, inflammation forms in the heart valve, resulting in infection. This is known as Endocarditis. Individuals may experience fever, chills, and fatigue.

Heart Disease

Perhaps the greatest link between oral health and heart disease is inflammation. When inflammation is present inside the mouth, from periodontal (gum) disease or tooth decay, individuals are at a greater risk for heart disease, including clogged arteries and stroke.


For expecting mothers that have Periodontitis, or severe gum disease, research suggests that inflammation from the oral disease can enter the bloodstream, directly affecting the fetus. The result may be early labor or a baby with low birth weight.


Closely connected, the dynamic between gum disease and Diabetes is undeniable. When individuals have periodontal (gum) disease, they have a difficult time managing sugar levels. In turn, individuals with Diabetes have an impaired ability to fight infection. In a sense, one condition complicates the other.

Without question, the benefits of maintaining good oral health extend beyond having a healthy smile. Good oral health is an investment in one’s overall health.

Delivering excellence in preventative and all aspects of dentistry to Wichita and surrounding areas, Dr. Travis Tanaka at Seneca Family Dentistry values teaching patients about the connections between oral and overall health. Dr. Tanaka believes that when patients are committed to regular dental care, they enjoy a better quality of life. Are you up to date on your dental checkups? If not, do not worry. The team at Seneca Family Dentistry welcomes your call today.

Posted on behalf of Seneca Family Dentistry


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