A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body

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This is the story about a diabetic man. And not just that, but one who was able to significantly decrease his insulin intake once he had his infected teeth removed. Not only did he have a history of uncontrolled diabetes, but this particular man had open heart surgery in 1997 and just recently was diagnosed with glaucoma.

Although he and his specialist worked for years to get his blood sugar under control, they never had good results. And what makes this story even more amazing, is just 10 days after surgery on his mouth, this patient had a low sugar attack, requiring his family to call EMS. Two days after his attack, his physician determined his current insulin dosage was just too strong. See, for years the insulin had to battle not only the diabetes but the infection also. Once the infection was removed through oral surgery, the dosage proved to be too high.  As a result, this patient dropped his fast-acting diabetic medication from 10 units to 6 units and his slow-acting medication from 58 units to 44 units. Even better? Six months later and he is feeling so much better, keeping his sugar stable with a lower dosage amount.

So, what caused such dramatic results? If you look at the picture, you’ll see a yellow glob between the two front teeth. What you’re seeing is pus, draining out of the gum tissue. If the pus was to be wiped off and pressure was applied to the area, more pus would simply ooze out again. So every single time this patient bites down, eats or swallow, this infection is forced into the mouth, ingested and shows up in the blood stream. This now becomes a serious and dangerous medical situation.

After reviewing the photo you might assume the pain is what forced the patient to finally make a dentist appointment. That isn’t the case as he wasn’t in any pain (which is the danger of gum disease; it generally doesn’t involve pain). He was informed enough to know the condition of his teeth was contributing to his diabetic problems.

As a dentist, I fully understand the importance of the mouth-body connection. An infection from a tooth generally attacks the weakest part of the body. And science backs this up. Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and as a result, a healthy mouth equates to a health body.

If you have heart disease, diabetes, joint replacements, arthritis or if you’re pregnant, it’s extremely important to visit your dentist in addition to your physician. Just like the song goes “the foot bone is connected to the leg bone”, the same holds true for your mouth. An infection in your tooth or your gum isn’t an isolated incident. It’s affecting the rest of your body too.

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