What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but whatever happens in the mouth goes through the whole body. So, if you have an infection in your mouth, it only stands to reason it will affect you elsewhere.

Take Alice for example. She had all kinds of health problems. She was lethargic. She was on dialysis for her kidneys, and she was having bleeding problems when they unhooked her from the machine. Her medication wasn’t working as it should. She was miserable.

Alice came to me because she had a tooth that was bothering her a little bit. I took one look in her mouth and you didn’t have to be a dentist to realize that mouth was a total disaster – teeth lying on their sides, pus coming out every, her mouth full of bacteria.

We had to remove all but two teeth and we put her on antibiotics. Within a week the infection in her mouth was gone, and within three weeks she had no more trouble with bleeding on the dialysis. The medications were working and she had a pep in her step. She was an artist but she hadn’t felt well enough to draw for two years. She started drawing again. She got her life back.

This was a woman who had been treated by physicians for years, but none of them had even looked in her mouth. And that’s where her problem was.

This is what I’m referring to when I talk about “The Deadly Gap” between dentists and physicians. Numerous studies have shown the negative impact that long-term, chronic dental infections – even those with no symptoms – can have on a person’s overall health. But many physicians – not all but most – haven’t received a lot of training on the mouth, so they don’t always connect the dots.

There are a few reasons for this, and I cover them in this week’s episode of “Your Filthy Mouth.” But the most important message is we need to bridge this gap, and doctors and dentists need to do a better job of working with one another.

Until next week …

Charles “Dr. Chuck” Reinertsen, DMD, has been practicing dentistry in Central Florida since 1979 and is author of the book, “The Power of a Really Great Smile.” His passion is spreading the word about how the health of your mouth is intrinsically linked to the rest of your body. Learn more at www.filthymouthpodcast.com.