Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
The Signposts of Gum Disease:
• Bleeding gums after brushing your teeth
• Blood on your floss after flossing
• Aching, inflamed or swollen gums
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Tooth roots becoming exposed
• Never-ending sour breath (halitosis)
• Pus or white film between the teeth
• Discomfort when you chew or bite on something
• Recent change in your bite
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth
• Finding food packed up in your gums
Periodontal disease is the most rampant chronic biological ailment in the world, even more common than the cold and sniffles. Population surveys and studies done in America reveal that half of adult Americans have gingivitis and about 30% have periodontitis, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.
The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that silently eats away at the gums and bone that support teeth. Periodontal disease can compromise a single tooth or the majority of your teeth. It begins when the bacteria and plaque (that sticky, colorless bio-film forming on your teeth every day) make your gums become inflamed.
It may sound weird, but, bacteria from periodontal disease can circulate throughout your entire body showing up in vital organs, joints and muscles. The bottom line is that periodontal disease may be a far more serious threat to your health than once thought. In conclusion, to prolong your life, take action now to protect your gums.
In addition to gum disease’s negative effect on your body’s internal systems, it has also been found to diminish the benefits of any medicine you are receiving for a medical condition.
Experts Are Now Recommending Periodontal Therapy To Prevent Heart Disease
By allowing Dr. Peck to treat your gum disease, you are saying, “No” to developing cardiovascular problems.
The way that gum disease affects your heart is that periodontal disease fires off a domino run of chemical events that build inflammation, or swelling, throughout the body. When plaque lining the arteries causes the arteries to become inflamed, it can cause blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke. If that weren’t bad enough, gum disease germs might also stick to the inner lining of the heart, which may cause infective endocarditis.
For the past decade, recurring studies have found that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One result of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. When the gums become very diseased, your teeth usually start falling out.
Researchers in Finland decided to look for an association between the number of missing teeth in a person and the rate of diagnosed heart disease in the group. They looked at 1,384 men between the ages of 45 and 64. What they discovered was that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from sustained oral infections resulting from periodontal disease also had a greater likelihood of having heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease raises the danger of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the danger of having a stroke by a factor of 10.
With Gum Disease, Every Breath Could Be A Risk To Your Lungs
According to numerous studies, oral disease may harm your lungs. First, bacteria in your your gums mix into your saliva. Then it gets caught up in water vapor carried by the air you take in with every breath. The water droplets mixed with the bacteria may be aspirated into the lungs. Eventually, this can develop into pneumonia. This might just be the last straw for older family members or those who may suffer from a compromised immune system, including anyone suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Adult-Onset Diabetes Brought On By Gum Disease
For years dentists knew that people who have diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Recent research is now indicating that it may work both ways: those who have chronic gum disease are more likely to get diabetes. Researchers recently looked at data from an ongoing U.S. health study and uncovered the fact that people who had a chronic gum infection at the beginning of the study two decades ago were highly likely to have contracted diabetes.
This study appears to prove the assertion that those with ongoing periodontal disease are more likely to eventually suffer from diabetes.
Finally, did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association has announced that periodontal disease causes diabetes.
• Adults with periodontal disease are 200% as likely to have insulin resistance.
• Type II diabetics have a 7 times greater mortality rate when they have severe periodontal disease.
What This All Means To Dentists
In the past, dental professionals committed to saving your teeth through regular dental care. Today, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, you are more at risk for more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Today, as we manage the health of your teeth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound objective, we could also be protecting your life as well.
Dr. Peck concludes, “It is not enough anymore to just keep an eye on suspicious spots in the gums. Instead, eradicating gum disease will become an important part of maintaining, and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. In fact, it will mean that if our patients’ teeth and gums are not healthy, we can assume that they are not healthy overall.”