Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
Orally-related disease is the most commonly-occuring chronic bacterial illness across the globe, far outpacing the common cold. Studies undertaken in the U.S. show that half of adult Americans have gingivitis and about 30% have periodontitis.
Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that eats away at the gums and bone anchoring your teeth. Periodontal disease can compromise a single tooth or the majority of your teeth. Periodontal disease has its origin when the bacteria and dental plaque (that sticky, colorless buildup forming on your teeth every day) cause the gums to become inflamed.
As strange as it may sound, the infectious germs in your gums can travel through your system showing up in vulnerable areas of the body like the heart, kidneys, lungs and the digestive organs. The logical conclusion of this evidence is that periodontal disease is a bigger threat to one’s health than we thought before. Therefore, to maintain your overall health, don’t put off having regular cleanings and periodontal therapy.
In addition to gum disease’s negative effect on your body’s internal systems, the disease might also diminish the benefits of any treatments you are receiving for a medical condition.
The Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing
• Gums bleeding after flossing your teeth
• Painful, red or puffy gums
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Tooth roots becoming exposed
• Chronic sour breath (halitosis)
• Pus at the gum line
• Sharp pain when biting down or chewing
• Recent change in your bite
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth
• Finding food packed up in your gums
Gum Disease Could Bring On Diabetes
Over the years researchers knew that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Research is now showing that vice-versa is also the case: people with chronic gum infections are more likely to get diabetes. Scientists analyzed numbers from a large ongoing national health survey and found 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 concept that adults with chronic infections such as gum disease are at higher risk for diabetes.
Finally, did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association says gum 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.
Dr. Peck Is Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Avoid Heart Disease
By allowing Dr. Peck to treat your gum disease, you are aggressively lowering your odds of developing heart disease.
Recent research has discovered that people with periodontal disease have higher odds of also having coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria being dispersed by advanced periodontal disease can spread through the bloodstream and ramp up disease in the heart and other parts of the body.
Over the last ten years, recurring studies have concluded that there is a proven connection between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One consequence of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. When gum disease gets bad enough, your teeth will fall out.
Researchers in Finland began to investigate the connection between the number of missing teeth in a person and the rate of diagnosed heart disease in the group. They looked at over 1300 men between the ages of 45 and 64. What they discovered was that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from ongoing gum disease also had a higher incidence of heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease raises the danger of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the likelihood of stroke by a factor of 10.
With Periodontal Disease, Each Breath Can Be A Threat To Your Lungs
Oral bacteria living in swollen and bleeding gums can also get into the saliva. With each breath, the air picks up droplets of saliva to keep your lungs moist. You can see this for yourself, if you put a small makeup mirror close to your lips and then lightly breathe on it. A mist will appear on the glass of the mirror. Now, imagine those little droplets being drawn deeply into your lungs where they deposit their bacterial hitchhikers.
Here, the bacteria can set up camp and cause inflammation and swelling that may start another case of respiratory disease such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Add to that the fact that, should the person be are already being treated for any of these diseases, theinflammatory bacteria can sabotage your progress towards health.
What This All Means To Dentists
Yesterday, dental practices strived to save your teeth with regular cleanings. From now on, there is a broader dimension to dental care. 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. From now on, as we care for your teeth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound goal, 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. Given this new research, aggressively controlling periodontal disease will be a critical action step in maintaining, and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. To be exact, our patients will not be totally healthy unless they are periodontally healthy.”