Oral Health and Body Health: The Connection

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Periodic tooth cleanings coupled with periodontal therapy are likely to extend your golden years, according to the latest studies by dental experts. As strange as it may sound, the bacteria from periodontal disease are able to migrate through your body and get to vulnerable areas of the body like the heart, kidneys, lungs and the digestive organs. It becomes clear that you need to schedule regular visits for dental hygiene and periodontal therapy and ensure that your periodontal health is constantly managed.

“Periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene can lead to an early death,” explains health and wellness author, Dr. Michael F. Roizen. Why? Because gum disease has been proven to be associated with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, digestive problems, osteoporosis, and immune disorders. Did you know that if you add up the entire infected area of gum disease in the mouth and gums, you get a total infected area of about two inches in diameter. Of course, “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If that infection was on your face, you would make it a priority to get it treated.

In addition to gum disease’s unwelcome effect on your body, the disease might also diminish the benefits of any treatment regimen you are receiving for a medical condition.

Romie Lane Dental Group Gum Disease Anne

The Red Flags of Periodontal Disease:

• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth
• Gums bleeding after flossing
• Aching, red or puffy gum tissue
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Gums receding around the teeth
• Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
• Pus or white film at the gum line
• Pain when biting down or chewing
• Noticeable changes in your bite
• Recently developed spaces between teeth
• Food “packing” into your gums

Romie Lane Dental Group Periodontal Illustration 3

Dr. Cameron Is Now Recommending Periodontal Therapy To Avoid Heart Disease 

By allowing Dr. Cameron to guard against gum disease, you are saying, “No” to developing heart attack and heart failure. 

Recent research has found that people with gum disease have higher odds of also having coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria shed by persistent periodontal disease can spread through the bloodstream and contribute to heart disease and other parts of the body.

Since the year, 2000, a number of studies have found that there is a proven connection between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One consequence of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. After the gums have been diseased long-term, 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 almost 1500 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 higher incidence of heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease has been found to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the danger of having a stroke by 1000%.

Gum Disease Likely To Bring On Diabetes

Even though people with diabetes are known to be at risk for gum disease, we didn’t know which came first, the diabetes or the periodontal disease. Twenty years ago, scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health studied over 9,000 local residents who tested negative for diabetes. Eventually, about 800 of of the 9,000 tested positive for diabetes. The researchers found that individuals with elevated levels of periodontal disease had double the chances of getting diabetes within 20 years, even if other risk factors like smoking, obesity, age and an unhealthy diet were included.

“These data points support the view that oral infection brings on diabetes,” according to Dr. Demmer, associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.

With Periodontal Disease, Breathing In Could Be A Risk To Your Lungs

There is a unique way that oral disease hurts your lungs. Bacteria in your your gum tissue mix into your saliva. It may then adhere to water droplets within the air you draw in each time you breathe. The water droplets mixed with the bacteria goes deep into your lungs. Now you have the start of a good case of pneumonia. This might just be the last straw for older family members or individuals who are dealing with a low immunity level, especially those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What This All Means To Dentists

Previously, dental practice teams vowed to save your teeth through regular dental care. Today, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, it puts you at a higher risk for more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Today, as we care for your teeth, we’re not just saving your teeth, which in itself is a very good objective, we could also be protecting your life as well.

Dr. Cameron concludes, “It is not enough anymore to just attend to at-risk areas in the gum tissue. Rather, attacking gum disease aggressively will be a top priority for 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.”

Contact Us

  • Romie Lane Dental Group
  • Soraya Cameron, DDS
  • 770 E. Romie Lane
  • Salinas, CA 93901
  • (831) 424-3035

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