Looking to get a better insight into your overall health? Turns out you don’t have to look very far – just open your mouth and say “ah!”“Often referred to as the ‘barometer of the body,’ the mouth is the portal that gives us the ability to detect various problems through the symptoms they present in the mouth, such as diabetes and cancer. While this has been established for years, it’s becoming more and more evident that oral health and overall health go hand in hand,” explained Dr. Charles Anderson of Anderson Dentistry in Mount Pleasant.
Additional health problems that can be detected through your mouth are sleep apnea, circulation issues and stress.
Dr. Anderson, a 13th-generation Charleston native himself, has been helping patients in the Lowcountry improve their oral and overall health for more than 33 years. And while contrary to popular belief that oral care doesn’t always have to be a priority, Dr. Anderson reminds us that due to the connection to every aspect of our bodies, “bacteria that causes infection and inflammation can travel throughout our systems,” causing a number of unwanted complications.
And don’t even think about skipping out on flossing.
“There’s a big misconception that flossing is not important or even that they need to see a dentist in the first place because they ‘know how to brush their own teeth,’ but that’s a big mistake,” he said.
According to Dr. Anderson, periodontal disease, an infection of the gum tissue and the bones surrounding the teeth, is the number one overlooked oral care issue, and it is clearly a serious problem. By the time it has passed gingivitis to full-blown periodontitis, it often requires surgery to remove the extensive damage caused by the bacteria buildup. Without proper treatment, periodontal disease eventually results in tooth loss, as well as increasing your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
But you thought oral health only had to do with teeth, right?
Thankfully, keeping our mouths – which include teeth, gums and tongue – healthy only requires a few basic steps.
“The best oral health tip is to simply brush, floss, rinse, visit your dentist and repeat!” Dr. Anderson said, adding that a good home-care routine, healthy eating habits and regular (twice a year) visits to the dentist will help you avoid costly or painful dental and overall health issues down the road.
While I suspect we’ll always have skeptics to convince of the importance of oral health, you won’t hear Dr. Anderson complaining any time soon: “I have the number one rated occupation in the number one city in the world! What could be better?”
After more than three decades practicing both in Charleston and Mount Pleasant, Dr. Anderson continues to be enthusiastic about treating his patients and about his experienced team, which is dedicated to helping locals perfect their oral care routines one cleaning at a time.
By Krysta Chapman