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No Joke… Ignoring Your Teeth Could Kill You

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Stone Gum Disease AnneThe Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease:

• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth 
• Blood on your floss after flossing 
• Sore, red or puffy gums 
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth 
• Tooth roots becoming exposed 
• Never-ending bad breath (halitosis) 
• Pus around the base of the teeth 
• Sharp pain when biting down or chewing 
• Noticeable changes in your bite 
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth 
• Food “packing” into your gums

Regularly scheduled preventive cleaning appointments that include periodontal therapy are likely to lengthen your life span, according to the latest scientific research by international researchers. This might seem like something out of science fiction, however, the germs from gum disease are able to travel all over you and get to other organs, such as your heart, digestive system, and lungs. This is why it’s more important than ever to schedule regular visits for dental hygiene and periodontal therapy and ensure that your periodontal health is constantly managed.

“Gum disease and laziness about one’s dental care are predictors of an early death,” says health and wellness author, Dr. Michael F. Roizen. Why? Because gum disease has been shown to be linked to 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 infection and decay around the teeth and in your gums, gum disease is like having an open wound the size of a silver dollar. It’s just invisible because it’s under the gums. If you looked in the mirror tomorrow and saw that big sore on your forehead, you be making a medical appointment that day.

Other studies show that any treatment you are receiving for a variety of health conditions like heart problems, pulmonary disease such as emphysema or COPD, diabetes, knee replacement, kidney disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and, finally, pregnancy might be hindered by bacteria from the mouth.

Stone Periodontal Illustration 1

Type II Diabetes Brought On By Periodontal Infection

For years dentists knew that diabetics are more likely to also contract periodontal disease. Science is now indicating that the reverse may also be true: people with chronic gum infections are more likely to get diabetes. Researchers looked at results from a big health survey and discovered that when the survey started twenty years ago, those who already had periodontal disease were more likely to get diabetes.
This study appears to prove the concept that people with chronic gum disease are at higher risk for diabetes.

Finally, did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association says periodontitis causes diabetes.
• Adults 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.

Doctors Are Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Avoid Heart Disease 

By allowing Dr. Stone to help prevent periodontal disease, you are aggressively lowering your odds of developing heart attack and heart failure. 

Understand that the way that gum disease affects your circulatory system is that periodontal disease may trigger a chain of chemical events that increase an inflammatory response throughout the body. When plaque lining the arteries causes the arteries to become inflamed, blood clots can form, putting you at danger for heart attack or stroke. Add to that, the oral bacteria might also adhere to the lining inside the heart, which may cause infective endocarditis.

For the past decade, recurring studies have concluded that there is a definite association 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.

Finnish researchers 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 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 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 risk of having a stroke by a factor of 10.

The Relationship Between Gum Disease And Infections In Your Lungs

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with chronic periodontal disease are most susceptible to pneumonia. So, taking action now to address your periodontal disease is priority #1 for reducing your chance of spending a week in the hospital with pneumonia.

What This All Means To Dentists

Previously, dental practices strived to save your teeth with regular cleanings. 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 manage the health of your teeth, we’re not just saving your teeth, which in itself is a very good commitment, we might just be saving your life as well.

Dr. Stone concludes, “It’s no longer good enough to just keep an eye on trouble spots in the gums. Given this new research, attacking gum disease aggressively will be 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.”