Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

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Gum disease, or more accurately, periodontal disease, is a silently-destructive infection caused by about five hundred varieties of bacteria in your mouth that are known to also assault your body’s vital systems (heart and circulatory, digestive, lungs, kidneys and liver, plus joints and connective tissue).

By all accounts, more than 60 million Americans show signs of periodontal (gum) disease, a chronic bacterial infection that can destroy your gums and the bone that supports 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 all over your body. For “at risk” patients, this additional stress might be the element with a cumulative effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.

Research has also shown any treatment you are receiving for a variety of internal conditions like heart problems, pulmonary disease such as emphysema or COPD, diabetes, orthopedic replacement, kidney disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or pregnancy might be hindered by micro-organisms from gum disease.

Sophisticated Smiles Gum Disease Mitch

The Red Flags of Gum Disease:

• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing
• Blood on your floss after flossing your teeth
• Painful, inflamed or puffy gums
• Loose and/or wobbly teeth
• Gums receding around the teeth
• Never-ending 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 getting lodged up in your gums

Sophisticated Smiles Periodontal Illustration 4

Diabetes Intertwined With Oral Infection

Over the years it was known that those with Type II diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Recent research is now showing that it may work both ways: those who have chronic gum disease are more likely to get diabetes. Investigators analyzed numbers 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 supports the concept that patients with chronic gum disease are at higher risk for diabetes.

Finally, did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association states periodontal disease causes diabetes.
• Family members with periodontal disease are twice more likely to have insulin resistance.
• When Type II diabetics also have elevated gum disease, they are seven times more likely to die.

Experts Are Now Recommending Periodontal Therapy To Stop Heart Disease 

By coming to see our hygienists to help prevent periodontal disease, you are decreasing your chances for developing cardiovascular problems. 

Recent 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 shed by advanced gum disease can spread through the bloodstream and contribute to heart disease and other parts of the body.

Since the year, 2000, several studies have concluded that there is a definite association between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One consequence of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. When the gums become very diseased, your teeth usually start falling 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 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 has been found to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the risk of having a stroke by 1000%.

The Connection Between Gum Disease And Pneumonia

People with chronic periodontal disease (10% of the general population and 50% of all seniors) are most often affected by pneumonia. So, taking action now to address your periodontal disease is priority #1 for diminishing your chances of coming down with pneumonia and getting really sick.

What This All Means To Dentists

Previously, dental practice teams vowed to save your teeth with regular cleanings. Now, there is a broader dimension to dental 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. Now, as we manage the health of your teeth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound objective, we might just be saving your life as well.

Dr. Szierer concludes, “It’s not enough anymore to just be aware of suspicious spots in the gums. Rather, attacking gum disease aggressively 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.”

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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