New book links oral, overall body health

July 15, 2010
Are Your Teeth Killing You? says that poor oral health can indicate or lead to serious systemic problems.

RICHMOND, Virginia--For most people, the words diabetes, heart disease, and cancer don't conjure up thoughts of the dentist.

But, according to the new book Are Your Teeth Killing You? by Charles W. Martin, DDS (ISBN 978-1-59932-179-0, BarberCosby), oral health and overall body health are inextricably linked and poor oral health can indicate or lead to serious systemic problems.

In fact, says Dr. Martin, founder of the Richmond Smile Center, research shows gum disease contributes to a host of systemic problems, including heart disease, stroke and cancer; increases a woman's chances of delivering a pre-term, low-weight baby; and causes further problems for people with diabetes, osteoporosis and respiratory diseases.

Because dental check-ups are recommended more frequently than physicals, dentists are often the first to notice early warning signs of serious health problems.

The link between gum disease and other diseases boils down to bacteria. Are Your Teeth Killing You? explains why the mouth, particularly under the gums, is the perfect bacteria breeding ground and how bacteria multiplying there can have devastating effects on the body.

The result is chronic systemic inflammation, a concept emerging rapidly at the forefront of medicine. The National Institutes of Health reports that gum disease affects up to 80% of adults in the U.S.

Unfortunately, far too many people are unaware of the damage they're causing their bodies by neglecting their oral health. For that reason, the link between oral health and systemic inflammation is a key focus of Dr. Martin's practice at the Richmond Smile Center.

"What we didn't know about the mouth-body connection before has implications and applications in everyday life for everyone," Dr. Martin explained. "What we now know and what we research increasingly shows if the mouth isn't healthy, the body won't be either. People need to hear that message."

For more information, go to

To read more about the oral-systemic connection, go to oral-systemic connection.

To comment on this topic, go to