The word oral, both in its Latin root and in common usage, refers to the mouth. The mouth includes not only the teeth and the gums (gingiva) and their supporting connective tissues, ligaments, and bone, but also the hard and soft palate, the soft mucosal tissue lining of the mouth and throat, the tongue, the lips, the salivary glands, the chewing muscles, and the upper and lower jaws, which are connected to the skull by the temporomandibular joints. Equally important are the branches of the nervous, immune, and vascular systems that animate, protect, and nourish the oral tissues, as well as provide the connections to the brain and the rest of the body.Read more
New research is pointing to associations between chronic oral infections and heart and lung diseases, stroke, and low-birth-weight, premature births. Associations between periodontal disease and diabetes have long been noted.
The role of good nutrition and oral hygiene as well as dental care are well understood. The use of key micronutrients to assist with oral health, probiotics to limit or prevent bacterial infections and special sugars to limit bacterial adherence are all important and valid mechanisms for optimising oral and dental health.
Oral health is a standard of the oral and related tissues which enables an individual to eat, speak and socialise without active disease, discomfort or embarrassment and which contributes to general well-being (World Health Organisation 1982).
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- Gaffen SL, Hajishengallis G. A new inflammatory cytokine on the block: re-thinking periodontal disease and the Th1/Th2 paradigm in the context of Th17 cells and IL-17. J Dent Res. 2008 Sep;87(9):817-28. View Abstract
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