What begins in the mouth does not usually end in the mouth. Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. Your mouth is the beginning point of your digestive and respiratory tracts, and bacteria when moved to other areas can cause disease.

In this issue we will discuss how diseases from the mouth can affect three medical ailments; heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy complications.

Heart Disease-

There is clear evidence that gum diseases are predictors of heart disease. So how is this possible? Well, the common thread is the presence of the bacterial germs and the reaction of your immune system to the germs. These dental organisms are extremely toxic and highly reactive when they get into different parts of the body. When a patient has a dental disease, the germs usually move from where it started. It often detaches and travel through the blood stream and accumulate for example on the valves of your heart. This causes a series of chemical reactions resulting in an aggressive immune response that causes damage to that organ or its activities. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and strokes are linked to the inflammation and infections from oral bacteria. This violent immune response can occur on several organs thereby affecting your health outcomes.

Infective Endocarditis This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to heart valves. In cases where dentists are aware of patients with congenitally defective valves or prosthetic valves or the immunocompromised we would prescribe antibiotics before any dental treatment.


There is a strong relationship between gum disease and diabetes. Diabetes is now the fifth leading cause of death in The Bahamas. The health of your gums can influence your diabetic status. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can improve diabetes controls. We have known for years that if you are diabetic, you have a greater likelihood of losing your teeth. The more severe the diabetes, the severity of periodontal disease increases.So, you see there is a two- way street here. Better oral health means better sugar controls. Better sugar controls mean better oral health.

Pre-term Low Birth Weight Babies-

Women who are pregnant are susceptible to premature contractions if they neglect their dental status. Studies show that the germs associated with gum disease also travel through the blood stream to the placenta causing early onset contractions. All of these processes tend to be triggered by the body’s immune system. It recognizes a threat that causes self-inflicted damage not only to your dental tissues but to your other organs as well.

In conclusion, treating dental diseases at the earliest possible time serve as a natural boost to your immune system. Improving your immune system will help you better manage your heart health, blood sugar and pregnancy outcomes. Undoubtably, this helps you live a healthier and productive life.

Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected].

Bacteria from Mouth Affects Heart

Gum disease in pregnancy aggravated by hormones

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.