From the mouth flows systemic health issues

Tuesday, February 16, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

dentist office dental careThough February is National Children's Dental Health Month, a dentist says kids are not the only ones who should be getting a check-up.

Dr. William Griffin, DDS, vice president of dental ministries for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), says having "your natural teeth" enables a person to better chew food, which gives greater ability to digest it and to receive all the nutrients that it contains.

"So people without natural teeth or with a decreased number of natural teeth don't get as much nutrition from the food that they eat," he continues.

Dr. Griffin also acknowledges the cosmetic issue.

"That can have a lot to do with self-esteem and how one comes across to other people, so that's more of a factor than … we realize," he submits.

But Dr. Griffin also cites a number of studies that show the strong likelihood of a connection between oral health and systemic health.

"In other words, patients who have gum disease, who have untreated inflammation in their mouths -- there is no wall between the mouth and the rest of the body, and so the bacteria in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body and make a person more susceptible to cardiovascular problems, lung problems, diabetes, and a host of other systemic illnesses," the dentist explains.

But he recognizes that not everyone has dental insurance or can afford necessary dental treatment.

Griffin

"Regarding minimizing the cost of dental treatment, for those who would like to keep their natural teeth, the two biggest factors would be excellent home care, which would include hopefully daily flossing … along with the periodic cleanings by a professional in the dental office," Dr. Griffin notes.

That combination, he says, should greatly decrease how much else is needed in order to keep the mouth healthy.

"If a person has good genetic makeup, if their teeth are inherently strong, then good home care plus regular preventative care can indeed keep a person dentally healthy and also minimize the cost," Dr. Griffin continues.

But for those who have dental problems and find it difficult to afford the treatment that they need, he says there is a large group of clinics across the United States, "Christian clinics that provide medical and dental care. Christian Community Health Fellowship (CCHF), for example, is available for patients with limited means.

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