San Francisco Surgical Arts

Oral Health- A Mouth-Body Connection

Lady pointing at her smile

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that the mouth is the window to overall health? When you think about health goals you may picture the gym and kale smoothies, but oral hygiene is just as important.

By taking a look inside your mouth, your dentist can tell many things about your overall health. An unhealthy mouth can be a sign of an unhealthy body, and many oral conditions can be a sign of serious underlying health problems.

Protecting your oral health is a positive step towards a healthy body. A few simple steps can be taken to preserve your oral health.

– Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Brushing and flossing your teeth keep them and your gums clean and healthy. Regular brushing and flossing reduces plaque build-up that can lead to gum disease and other periodontal diseases.
– Scheduling check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. Visiting your dentist every six months is vital to your oral health and can prevent oral related problems such as gum disease and tooth decay from developing. Your dentist will perform an examination of your mouth and can give you recommendations on how to improve your oral health.
– A healthy diet and exercise. Regular light exercise can help reduce the risk of periodontal disease. Coupled with a balanced diet, your body will be able to get the nutrients needed for a healthy body.

This year, be sure to add oral health goals to your list of resolutions – your teeth and your body will thank you!

Yet more reasons to quit smoking…

Here are some facts about smoking that you may already be aware of:


  • Smoking is related to 1 in 5 deaths in the United States every year.  This statistic is greater than the number of deaths caused by, motor vehicle accidents, alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, murders, and suicides combined.
  • According to the surgeon general smoking causes over 80 % of lung cancer.
  • Smoking raises cholesterol and increases your chance of heart disease and stroke.
  • Smoking increases your risk of emphysema and lung disease.
  • Smoking has adverse effects contributing to infertility, premature birth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Smoking decreases oxygen in the red blood cells.
  • Smoking contributes to osteoporosis.
  • Smokers are more likely to have increases hair loss and grey hair.
  • Smoking prematurely ages you.


But did you know that smoking also has many negative factors in oral hygiene?

  • Smoking causes bad breath (haltosis) and a dry mouth (xerostomia).   A dry mouth leads to increased cavities in your teeth.
  • Smoking causes dark stains on your teeth and increases dental plaque on the tooth surfaces and under the gums.  As the plaque worsens it turns into gingivitis and periodontal disease.  Advanced periodontal disease will tooth loss.
  • Smokers have a lowered success of dental implant osseointegration.
  • Smokers are more likely to get dry socket and have a slower healing time.
  • People who smoke have an increased risk of oral diseases, such as leukoplakia and oral cancer.
  • Smoking can cause inflammation of the esophagus, salvitary glands and tongue.
  • Smoking decreases your ability to taste and smell.
  • It is important to realize that smoking not only affects you as the smoker but it also affects everyone around you, putting your loved ones at risk.




Salvitary Glands:

The salivary glands in mammals are exocrine glands, glands with ducts, that produce saliva. They also secrete amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into maltose. In other organisms such as insects, salivary glands are often used to produce biologically important proteins like silk or glues, and fly salivary glands contain polytene chromosomes that have been useful in genetic research.


The esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat (pharynx) with the stomach. The esophagus is about 8 inches long, and is lined by moist pink tissue called mucosa. The esophagus runs behind the windpipe (trachea) and heart, and in front of the spine. Just before entering the stomach, the esophagus passes through the diaphragm.


Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be external or internal.


Leukoplakia is a white or gray patch that develops on the tongue, the inside of the cheek, or on the floor of the mouth. It is the mouth’s reaction to chronic irritation of the mucous membranes of the mouth.

Dry Socket:

The socket is the hole in the bone where the tooth has been removed. After a tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms in the socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath. Sometimes that clot can become dislodged or dissolve a couple of days after the extraction. That leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth. This can lead to infection and severe pain that can last for five or six days

Periodontal Disease:

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.