The Mouth is a Window to Your Health

“The eyes are the window to the soul” is how the old saying goes. However, to Drs. John and Sara Gotwalt and other dentists, the mouth can be the “window” to a view of your general health. In fact, your mouth is a “door” for some conditions as well since many oral health issues can lead to systemic issues. An issue is systemic when it affects your entire “system”; in this case that system is your body.

The opposite also occurs as many health issues can bring on a decline in your oral health, despite your best efforts to care for your teeth and gums. It is very important to protect your health by recognizing this connection between your oral health and the health of the rest of your body. Your health may depend on it.

Oral Bacteria

Although it is all invisible to the naked eye, human beings are a habitat for an entire ecosystem of living organisms.  They live on our skin and in our nose and mouth. Many live bacteria call our mouths home though most of it does us no harm. Following a regular oral hygiene regimen of brushing your teeth at least at least twice a day and daily flossing will usually keep these microorganisms at bay. However, when the right conditions for these bacteria are met, usually due to neglect of one’s dental hygiene, these bacteria in our mouths can cause minor oral health problems such as gum disease (also known as periodontitis) or tooth decay to become major systemic conditions.

Cardiac Problems Linked to Oral Health

Research shows that a connection exists between endocarditis and poor oral health. Endocarditis occurs when an infection from one part of your body such as from an infected tooth or inflamed gums, spreads to the lining of your heart through your bloodstream, compromising the heart muscles. There is also research that the risk of clogged arteries, heart disease and strokes increase with exposure to the bacteria from oral health issues. Researchers have also uncovered a link between poor oral health in expecting mothers and their babies being born prematurely.

Oral Health and Overall Health

On the other side of the equation, doctors have found that 90% of systemic medical conditions reveal themselves in our mouths through symptoms. It is a well known fact that gum disease is frequently diagnosed in patients with uncontrolled diabetes so its’ presence can be an sign that a person should have an exam from their medical doctor or endocrinologist (diabetic specialist). Lesions in the mouth could be indicative of some autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Losing teeth may hint at the onset of osteoporosis, a disease which weakens the bones and makes them brittle. Declining oral health is also commonly seen with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Prevent Illness with Good Oral Hygiene

So your teeth are keeping watch for you, but what can you do to look out for them? Drs. John and Sara Gotwalt recommend brushing at least twice daily or after meals and flossing daily to remove the plaque that forms on our teeth and nourishes bacteria, leading to tooth decay. Keeping your body properly hydrated is also important to preventing oral health issues as saliva removes excess food that can form plaque and neutralizes some of the acids from food that eat away at our tooth enamel. A healthy diet with very little added sugar and regular check-ups with your dentist and medical doctors are also recommended. To schedule a cleaning and consultation with the Drs. Gotwalt today call 717-220-4651 or schedule an appointment online.


Drs. Sara & John Gotwalt
Lititz, PA Dentist
2320 Rothsville Road, Suite 300
Lititz, PA 17543

New Patients 717-627-6980


Monday – 8:00AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday – 8:00AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday – 8:00AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday – 8:00AM – 5:00 PM

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