Integrative Dentistry – Whole Body Dentistry

Viera_July13-1 copyby Chris Edwards, DDS

Published July 2013

An examination of your mouth offers dentists clues about your overall health. Your oral health and overall health are intimately connected. Your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Most of them are harmless and play a large part in the digestion of your food.

Normally, daily brushing and flossing and periodic dental cleanings, while eating a healthy diet, keep the bacteria in check. Any interruption in the above gives the bad bacteria an opportunity to grow out of control. Medications that inhibit saliva also wreak havoc on the homeostasis of your oral bacteria.

An unbalance in the flora of the mouth creates dental and periodontal problems. Cavities and gum disease are bacterial dental diseases. What has recently become obvious through research is that the same bacteria in your mouth can be found in your heart. Endocarditis is developed when gum disease and dental procedures, like a dental cleaning, allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or damaged heart valve, this can lead to infections within your heart or elsewhere in your body. Heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke have all been linked to chronic inflammation from periodontal disease. Gums that bleed when flossed or brushed, or are visibly red and puffy, are all signs of periodontal disease.

Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Sjogen’s syndrome are all impacted by oral problems and disease. Inflammation has been discovered to be the weak link in many disease processes. The oral cavity is often the source of inflammation that can affect the rest of the body.

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system. Glands of the digestive system are crucial to the process of digestion. They produce both the juices that break down the food and the hormones that help to control the process. The glands that act first are in the mouth—the salivary glands. Saliva produced by these glands contains enzymes that begin to digest the starch and food into smaller molecules. The ability of the teeth to chew and break down the food is very important in the digestive process and enables the nutrients to become available to the body.

To promote oral health, brush your teeth at least twice a day. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Floss daily. Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks. Schedule regular dental checkups, which in the end is always the most cost-effective way to maintain good health. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

We at Smile Design & Wellness Center have taken thorough, advanced training in biologic dentistry. We understand the implications of your oral health to the health of your body. Next month, we will explore the difference between conventional and integrative dentistry. A good deal of dentistry is mechanical, but there is much more to it than that. We will explore alternative treatments in dentistry, discuss how environment causes disease, and how we look for the root cause of the problem.


Dr. Edwards graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and Temple University School of Dentistry. He completed a general practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. To reach Dr. Edwards you may call 321-751-7775 or visit