What is Oral-Systemic Health?

Hopefully, you understand that prevention is the best method to protecting your oral health. Most dental diseases are progressive, meaning they only grow worse once they develop until you actively stop them and treat the damage they’ve caused. However, not many people realize that preventing (or failing to prevent) the onset of dental disease can have a profound influence on your systemic well-being – a relationship often referred to as oral-systemic health.

Understanding Dental Diseases

The origins of tooth decay and gum disease lie in the buildup of dental plaque. As your parents and dentist may have told you since you were little, brushing and flossing your teeth is essential to your oral health, and controlling dental plaque accumulation is why. The sticky, colorless substance is comprised of hundreds of oral bacteria. When they’re allowed to gather in force, these germs undergo processes that prove detrimental to your smile when left unchecked.

For instance, certain germs lead to excessive inflammation of your gums (a condition known as gingivitis), and in time, this inflammation can damage your gums and lead to the onset of gum disease. Other germs release harmful toxins and acids that further irritate your teeth and gums, but the inflammatory element of gum disease is of special note when it comes to your oral-systemic health.

The Window to Your Body

When your oral tissues are compromised by disease (i.e., such as bleeding gums as result of gum disease), the germs in your mouth can access your bloodstream through the damaged tissue, possibly wreaking the same havoc in other areas of your body. The microbe Porphyromonas gingivalis, which has been singled out as the instigator that manipulates your body’s inflammatory response, has been the subject of much oral-systemic research. One study has even found that P. gingivalis infection accelerates atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries) in certain mouse models, and experts believe the germ is a contributing component to inflammatory heart disease and failure.


Combining experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a genuine care for their patients’ health and comfort, the team at Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Oral Surgery is ready to improve the health and beauty of smiles in the Sonoma County and North Bay area. To schedule a consultation, contact our office by calling 707-545-4625 (Santa Rosa) or 707-584-1630 (Rohnert Park).