Oral Health and Body Health: The Connection

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Sophisticated Smiles Gum Disease Mitch

The Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:

• Bleeding gums after brushing 
• Gums bleeding after flossing 
• Aching, red or swollen gum tissue 
• Loose and/or wobbly teeth 
• Gum tissue pulling back from teeth 
• Chronic bad breath (halitosis) 
• Pus around the base of the teeth 
• Pain when biting down or chewing 
• Recent change in your bite 
• Recently developed spaces between teeth 
• Food “packing” into your gums

Gum disease, or more accurately, periodontal disease, is a silently-destructive infection involving about 500 different kinds of germs in your mouth that are known to also assault the organs of your body.

By all accounts, more than 60 million people in this country show signs of periodontal (gum) disease, a slowly-developing bacterial infection that can destroy the gums and bone supporting your teeth. As gum disease continues unchecked, enzymes excreted by the bacteria attack your gum tissue. Eventually, the bacteria break through and enter your bloodstream. These circulating bacteria generate inflammation throughout the body. For seniors, children and anyone with a weakened immune system, this new assault is likely to have a complicating effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.

Studies have also concluded treatment for a variety of illnesses including heart problems, pulmonary disease such as emphysema or COPD, diabetes, hip replacement, kidney failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy could be hindered by micro-organisms from periodontal disease.

Sophisticated Smiles Periodontal Illustration 1

Type II Diabetes Brought On By Periodontal Infection

Acute bacterial and viral invaders bring about an increase in a person’s resistance to insulin, which disrupts blood sugar control. If you have diabetes, the addition of more infection makes insulin resistance worse and significantly worsens the diabetic’s ability to keep their blood sugar regulated. Periodontal disease and diabetes are intertwined in cause and effect. Anyone with diabetes ought to have a thorough oral health examination. On the other hand, it works both ways. If you have periodontal disease, you should be very watchful for signs of diabetes.

Did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association has announced that periodontal disease causes diabetes.
• Chemicals from gum disease that cause inflammation can enter the bloodstream and increase insulin resistance.
• 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.

Doctors Are Now Recommending Periodontal Therapy To Stop Heart Disease 

When you visit Sophisticated Smiles’s hygienists to guard against gum disease, you are aggressively lowering your odds of developing heart attack and heart failure. 

Studies have shown that men and women with gum disease are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria shed by persistent gum disease 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 determined that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One inevitability 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 looked at the correlation 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. Their research revealed 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 has been found to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the likelihood of having a stroke by a factor of 10.

Gum Disease Get’s Into Your Lungs

People with chronic periodontal disease (10% of the general population and 50% of all seniors) experience more bouts with pneumonia. So, seeing Dr. Szierer is the first step for lowering your odds of getting pneumonia again this year.

What This All Means To Dentists

In the past, dental professionals committed to saving your teeth by keeping them healthy. Now, 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. Now, as we manage the health of your teeth, we aren’t just saving your teeth, which in itself is a sound goal, we might just be saving your life as well.

Dr. Szierer concludes, “It is not enough anymore to just keep watch on trouble spots in the gum tissue. Instead, attacking gum disease aggressively will become 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.”

Contact Us

  • Sophisticated Smiles
  • Mark Szierer, DMD
  • 85 Reaville Ave
  • Flemington, NJ 08822
  • Phone: (908) 806-4333
  • Fax: (908) 806-2024

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