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Good oral and dental hygiene is important in helping to prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease—and overall, just maintaining a healthy smile and teeth. However, recent studies are also showing that keeping your mouth and teeth healthy can also help keep other medical conditions at bay. And, in turn, not keeping up with your oral care can play into serious medical problems.

Drs. Robert and Mandy Shearer at Soddy Smiles are sharing some important points with patients on just how their mouth can be a big factor in staying healthy on the whole.

"Your mouth can be an important window to what else is going on inside you," said Dr. Mandy. "There are many conditions that can start with oral signs and symptoms, and keeping up with regular dental care and hygiene is your first line of defense."

If you don't brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque, a natural occurrence of bacteria in the mouth, can build up along the gumline and make an environment for additional bacteria to build up in the spaces between your gums and teeth, Dr. Robert noted.

"This is known as gingivitis, and if left without care or diagnosis, it can cause more serious infections called periodontitis, or trench mouth," he shared.

In addition, while bacteria from the mouth don't typically enter the bloodstream, invasive dental treatments — sometimes even just routine brushing and flossing if you have gum disease — can make a port of entry.

Also medications or treatments that lower or slow saliva flow and antibiotics that disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth can also compromise your normal defenses, allowing these bacteria to enter your bloodstream, so those are more reasons to keep up with proper care and checkups at your dentist.

For those dealing with diabetes, oral health and hygiene is especially important because diabetes lowers the body's ability to fight off infections (something that's especially hot right now with current pandemic).

"Those elevated blood sugars also bring a greater risk of developing gum disease," said Dr. Robert. "And in turn, gum disease often makes it harder to keep your blood sugar levels closer to normal."

These particular patients need to be sure to brush after each meal and floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash every day, and definitely keep up with their regular dental checks.

Vice versa, your body's overall state and health and also impact your oral health, especially when it comes to stress.

"It is amazing how much stress shows up in our mouth," Dr. Mandy explained. "Clenching, grinding and other bad habits often show up early, and some people develop cold sores with stress."

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During times of high stress, she recommends a night guard paired with daily stretches to help with muscle tension and sometimes even Botox to help with sore jaw muscles, in sever cases. If left unattended it can lead to problems with TMJ that's located in front of your ear where the skull and lower jaw meet, Dr. Mandy shared.

Your bones and gum disease or improper care also have a connection. According to Dr. Mandy, bacteria from periodontitis can break down the jaw bone, and inadvertently lead to tooth loss or more serious issues like death of the jaw bone due to certain medications.

"If this is a worry  you have, it's best to contact your dentist right away to determine the right care," she shared.

If you're anemic, you might notice your gums are pale or lighter in color. Dr. Robert shared that as a result, your body doesn't get enough oxygen which creates that symptom, and patients need to talk with both their doctor and their dentist.

The best thing to do to help avoid these issues and others is to make certain you are keeping your oral health routine a priority and not varying from it, according to Dr. Robert. He said that seeing your dentist as scheduled and making sure to brush and floss at least twice a day should keep you in the clear. Also making good food choices and staying away from the excessive caffeine and sugar will help keep plaque build up to a minimum.

If you're concerned about your oral health affecting your body and vice versa, contact the team at Soddy Daisy Smiles for an appointment today to come with a treatment plan that meets your needs. They can be reached at 423-332-5725.


Those elevated blood sugars also bring a greater risk of developing gum disease. And in turn, gum disease often makes it harder to keep your blood sugar levels closer to normal."  Dr. Robert Shearer.

For more information:

Soddy Daisy Smiles can be reached at 423-332-5725.