Manhattan Dental January/February 2018

The Doctor’s Dentist TM

January/February 2018

635 Madison Ave, 19th Floor New York, NY 10022 212-928-1000 117 Kinderkamack Rd. Suite 200 River Edge, NJ 07661 201-881-0660 www.MANHATTANDENTALHEALTHNJ.COM

Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, Proper Breathing, Your Mouth, and ED Connecting the Dots

Every day, new information about the complex interactions of our various body systems, our environment, and the microscopic world in and around us comes to light. Recently, I read an article by a prominent cardiologist who recommended that every cardiologist ask their male patients about erectile dysfunction (or ED). What does one have to do with the other? As it turns out, the same process that causes heart disease contributes to male sexual dysfunction. And, it’s the same process that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease and almost all the chronic diseases in men (and women). These diseases, which are called noncommunicable diseases or NCDs, have a similar cause: inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s reaction to something it perceives as a danger. Have a splinter in your finger? Have a mosquito bite? The area turns red and hot as the body mobilizes its forces to fight it off. Inflammation is good. It’s our immune system working to protect us. Yet, the fiery hot inflammatory process itself has consequences, not all of which are positive. The same process that protects us also, in certain conditions, can cause harm. Inflammation, that’s the common denominator.

Inflammation in the presence of high triglycerides in the blood can cause buildup in the arteries and other organs, leading to a hardening of the arteries. This can cause all kinds of problems, from heart disease to erectile dysfunction. Inflammation has been associated with depression, weight gain, cancer, hair loss, MS, diabetes, arthritis, autism, and infertility. Almost every scourge of our time seems to have inflammation as its cause. Specifically, certain bacteria in the mouth stimulate the body’s self-defense system, resulting in inflammation. We know most of these bacteria. We can identify them and we can help reduce their numbers and lower the risks of developing inflammation-related NCDs. Yes, the cardiologist should ask about ED. He or she should also ask about the mouth. So should every physician and every specialist who deals with NCDs and their consequences. At Manhattan Dental Health, we’ve been taking bacteria profiles of our patients for three years. The information obtained gives us a window into the microbiome and can help us help you stay healthy and well. We’re not just talking about your mouth. These bacteria are associated with other diseases and can cause inflammation and reactions throughout the body. And what’s the most common cause and source of inflammation? The mouth.

One could actually make the case that everything starts in the mouth.

That brings us to yet another mouth-related activity — breathing.

Yes, breathing allows us to bring into our body the most important fuel of all, oxygen. And, it allows us to get rid of the most toxic byproduct, carbon dioxide. Proper breathing allows us to function optimally. Improper breathing can lead to problems that not only contribute to NCDs but to communicable diseases, as well. In regards to proper breathing, we talk about using our noses to take in and breathe out air. That’s what the nose is for. We’re meant to breathe through our noses for many reasons. The nose filters the air, which protects us from allergens, toxins, and even bacteria. It humidifies the air we breathe and warms it, making our lungs function optimally, allowing it to get oxygen to each and every cell in our body. Here’s something you might not know: We absorb air in our lungs when we exhale, not inhale. Why is that so important? When we breathe out through the mouth, we breath out too quickly, not allowing the oxygen to be absorbed optimally.

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