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Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

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Periodontal disease is the most rampant chronic biological ailment around the world, beating out the everyday head cold. Research studies completed in the U.S. reveal that half of Americans have gingivitis and 30 percent have periodontitis.

The word “periodontal” means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is an insidious infection that eats away at the gums and bone cradling the teeth. Periodontal disease can happen to just one tooth or the majority of your teeth. Gum disease starts when more than 500 different species of bacteria and dental plaque (that sticky, colorless bio-film forming on your teeth every day) make your gums become inflamed.

This might seem like something out of science fiction, however, bacteria from periodontal disease can travel all over your body arriving at vital organs, joints and muscles. The logical conclusion of this evidence is that gum disease is a bigger danger to your health than we thought before. In conclusion, if your health is important to you, take action now to protect your gums.

In addition to gum disease’s inflammatory effect on your internal organs, the disease might also negatively affect any treatment regimen you are receiving for a medical condition.

Stone Gum Disease MaryThe Signposts of Periodontal Disease:• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing 

• Gums bleeding after flossing
• Aching, shiny red or swollen gum tissue
• Loose and/or wobbly teeth
• Tooth roots becoming exposed
• Never-ending offensive breath (halitosis)
• Pus or white film around the base of the teeth
• Sharp pain when you chew or bite on something
• Recent change in your bite
• New spaces between your teeth
• Food getting lodged up in your gums

Stone Periodontal Illustration 3Dentists Are Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Avoid Heart Disease 

By having regular cleanings and periodontal therapy to treat your gum disease, you are saying, “No” to developing heart attack and heart failure. 

Peer-reviewed research has shown that people with gum disease are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria coming from chronic oral infections can spread through the bloodstream and have a contributing effect on disease in the heart and other parts of the body.

Since the year, 2000, a number of studies have concluded that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One inevitability of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. When gum disease gets bad enough, your teeth will fall out.

Scientists 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 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 raises the danger of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the risk of having a stroke by 1000%.

Gum Disease Get’s Into Your Lungs

Over 500 kinds of bacteria burrowed into infected gum tissue are also found in your saliva. When you take a breath, your saliva is taken into the air in little droplets to help moisten your lung tissue. If you want to actually see the little droplets, just place a mirror about two inches from your mouth and slowly breathe out. You’ll see a fog develop on the mirror. Those same little droplets are being drawn deeply into your lungs where they, and their cargo of bacteria, fall upon the mucosal lining.

This warm, moist paradise is where the little critters set up shop and induce irritation and inflammation that leads to the next round of pulmonary infection like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Add to that the fact that, if the individual is already sick with one of these conditions, theinflammatory bacteria can sabotage the effectiveness of any medication you’re taking.

Diabetes Encouraged By Periodontal Infection

While diabetics are known to be at risk for gum disease, it hasn’t been clear which comes first. In 1993, scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health investigated over 9,000 adults who were not diabetics. At the end, over 800 of them developed diabetes. The results showed if a person had advanced periodontal disease, they had twice the odds of suffering from diabetes within the following two decades, even if other risk factors like smoking, obesity, age and an unhealthy diet were included.

According to Dr. Demmer, associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, “Over two decades of tracking, we can see that participants who had periodontitis had a 200% rise in their odds of contracting Type 2 diabetes within 20 years when compared side by side with subjects that didn’t have periodontal disease.”

What This All Means To Dentists

Previously, dental professionals focused on saving your teeth with regular cleanings. Today, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. 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. Today, as we take care of your mouth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a very good objective, we could also be protecting your life as well.

Dr. Stone concludes, “It is no longer good enough to just keep watch on trouble spots in the gum tissue. Rather, attacking gum disease aggressively 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.”