Scientists and experts have been concerned about links they are finding between oral health and medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, arthritis and more. While almost all agree our oral health and overall health are intertwined they also believe more research is needed. We agree, and see evidence of this link in our office every day.
The focus of most research is on periodontal disease (also called gum disease) because it is a primary source of inflammation and bacteria growth, both of which are suspected routes for disease to other areas of your body. Research does show that individuals with gum disease have a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and other cardiac events.
Periodontal gum disease is an infection or inflammation of the gums that can damage or breakdown gum and bone support, often leading to tooth loss. It is also known to increase the overall inflammation load on your body. Inflammation is a hot topic in the area of disease causation, including autoimmune diseases that can attack any area of your body. It is also believed inflammation contributes to hardening and thickening of the arteries. We keep learning more about how inflammation contributes to diseases and impacts our longevity and health. It is not a good thing.
The other main issue is bacteria. Your mouth is home to millions of microscopic organisms that can live in balance, but when certain organisms, like bacteria, grow faster or outnumber the others, infection develops. The tricky part is that these bacteria can travel to other parts of your body, including your heart. The tissues in your mouth are thin and can absorb the bacteria easily. Bacteria can also get into your blood stream through your digestive system when you swallow. Your immune system can handle bacteria overload up to a point, but when there are too many or if your immune system is not operating at it's best, these bacteria can be dangerous. Having gum disease increases the volume of bacteria that can travel throughout your body and puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and other illnesses.
Taking care of your mouth should be an important part of any wellness plan. The same steps that protect your teeth and gums, can contribute to better overall health. They include:
In our office, we have a gum specialist on staff and also offer Guided Biofilm Therapy to ensure the best level of bacteria removal at your visits with the hygienist. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
We are here to help.
KN Dentistry - Orange, CA - (714) 633-2562