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No Joke… Ignoring Your Teeth Could Kill You

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Periodic tooth cleanings that include periodontal therapy will probably keep you alive and healthy longer, according to the latest research . As strange as it may sound, the infectious bacteria in your gums have been shown to travel all over your entire body showing up in 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 to stay vigilant about preventing gum disease.

“Periodontal disease and laziness about one’s dental care are red flags when it comes to premature death,” relates health and wellness author, Dr. Michael F. Roizen in his classic book, Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be? He cites that periodontal disease has been proven to be associated with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, digestive problems, osteoporosis, and immune disorders. Most people don’t realize it, however, adding up the entire infected area of gum disease around the teeth and in your gums, you end up with an infected area about two inches in diameter. Of course, “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If you looked in the mirror tomorrow and saw that big sore on your forehead, you’d be on the phone to your doctor right away.

In addition to gum disease’s inflammatory effect on your internal organs, it has also been found to diminish the benefits of any treatment regimen you are receiving for a medical condition.

Stone Gum Disease BradThe Red Flags of Periodontal Disease:• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing 

• Blood on your floss after flossing your teeth
• Aching, red or puffy gums
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Gum tissue pulling back from teeth
• Never-ending offensive breath (halitosis)
• Pus around the base of the teeth
• Discomfort when you chew or bite on something
• Noticeable changes in your bite
• Recently developed spaces between teeth
• Finding food packed up in your gums

Stone Periodontal Illustration 1Experts Are Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Prevent Heart Disease 

By coming to see our hygienists to guard against gum disease, you are decreasing your chances for developing cardiovascular problems. 

Dr. Stone cites dental research that has revealed that men and women with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria shed by advanced oral infections can spread through the bloodstream and contribute to heart disease and other parts of the body.

Over the last ten years, a number of studies have determined that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One result of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. After the gums have been diseased long-term, your teeth usually start falling out.

Scientists 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 almost 1500 men aged 45 to 64 years. What they discovered was that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from chronic 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 occurrence of having a stroke by a factor of 10.

Periodontal Disease Get’s Into Your Lungs

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with chronic periodontal disease experience more bouts with pneumonia. Logically, then, taking action now to address your periodontal disease is priority #1 for reducing your chance of getting pneumonia again this year.

Periodontal Disease Could Contribute To Diabetes

Out of control bacterial and/or viral invaders cause an increase in a person’s resistance to insulin, which aggravates blood sugar control. If you have diabetes, additional levels of infection worsens insulin resistance and significantly worsens their ability to regulate blood sugar. Periodontal disease and diabetes are intertwined in cause and effect. Anyone with diabetes should have a thorough oral health examination. Of course, the same advice goes to those with periodontal disease. If you have gum disease, you must constantly be on the lookout for diabetes.

Did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association has announced that gum disease causes diabetes.
• Chemicals from gum disease that cause inflammation invade the bloodstream and increase insulin resistance.
• People with periodontal disease are 200% more 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, dentists vowed to save your teeth with regular cleanings. In the future, we have to expand our focus of care. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, you’re in danger of developing more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. In the future, as we take care of your mouth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound objective, we might just be saving your life as well.

Dr. Stone concludes, “It is no longer good enough to just keep watch on suspicious spots in the gums. Rather, eradicating gum disease will be a critical action step in preserving 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.”