Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

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Gum disease, or more accurately, periodontal disease, is a chronic infection that comes from as many as five hundred types of bacteria in your mouth that also can assault your body’s vital systems (heart and circulatory, digestive, lungs, kidneys and liver, plus joints and connective tissue).

The CDC estimates that, over 60,000,000 people in the U.S.A. have symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, a chronic bacterial infection that can destroy your gums and the bone that supports the teeth. When gum disease advances, enzymes excreted by the bacteria slowly destroy the gum tissue, allowing bacteria to enter the blood and lymph circulatory systems. These dangerous invaders generate inflammation throughout the body. For “at risk” patients, this negative factor could have a cumulative effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.

Studies have also concluded medicine for a variety of medical conditions like heart failure, lung disease such as emphysema or COPD, diabetes, knee replacement, kidney failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and/or pregnancy might be hindered by bacteria from the mouth.

Sanders & Loe Dentistry Gum Disease Mitch

The Red Flags of Periodontal Disease:

• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth
• Blood on your floss after flossing
• Sore, inflamed or swollen gums
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Tooth roots becoming exposed
• Untreatable bad breath (halitosis)
• Pus or white film at the gum line
• Discomfort when you chew or bite on something
• Recent change in your bite
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth
• Food “packing” into your gums

Sanders & Loe Dentistry Periodontal Illustration 3

Periodontal Disease May Set You Up For Diabetes

Over the years dentists knew that people who have diabetes are more susceptible to get periodontal disease. Research is now indicating that the reverse may also be true: people with chronic gum infections are more likely to get diabetes. Scientists viewed data from a large ongoing national health survey and found that people who had a chronic gum infection at the beginning of the study two decades ago had greater odds of developing Type II diabetes.
 
This study appears to prove the assertion that people with ongoing periodontal disease are at higher risk for diabetes.

Finally, did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association has announced that gum disease causes diabetes.
• People with periodontal disease are 200% more likely to have insulin resistance.
• When Type II diabetics also have elevated gum disease, they are seven times more likely to die.

Dr. Sanders and Dr. Loe Is Now Advising You To Make a Dental Hygiene Appointment To Stop Heart Disease 

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

Recent research has found that people with periodontal disease have a significantly greater chance of having coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria being dispersed by advanced oral infections can spread through the bloodstream and contribute to disease in the heart and other parts of the body.

Over the last ten years, several studies have concluded that there is a proven connection 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 can wiggle 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 1,384 men aged 45 to 64 years. The researchers discovered that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from sustained oral infections resulting from 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 occurrence of stroke by a factor of 10.

The Relationship Between Periodontal Disease And Pulmonary Disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with chronic periodontal disease are most susceptible to pneumonia. Therefore, seeing Dr. Sanders and Dr. Loe is the first step for lowering your odds of getting pneumonia again this year.

What This All Means To Dentists

Yesterday, dental practices vowed to save your teeth through regular dental care. In the future, there is much more to be taken into consideration. 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. In the future, as we take care of your mouth, we aren’t just saving your teeth, which in itself is a sound goal, we could also be protecting your life as well.

Dr. Sanders and Dr. Loe concludes, “It’s no longer good enough to just attend to suspicious spots in the gums. Instead, aggressively controlling periodontal disease will become an important part of preserving 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.”