For years we all thought that there was little connection between the health of your body and the additional trip to the dentist for cleaning and looking for cavities, but regular visits to the hygienist may do more than brighten your smile. Research has linked periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection, to complications for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, osteoporosis and other health issues.
Most medial doctors told you to open wide and say “ahhhh” and they looked right past your gums and teeth. But now that is changing. Medical researchers now realize that decay is an infection of the teeth. Gum disease is a serious local infarction that occurs in the mouth. Bleeding, red and swollen gums and often bad breath is a sign of infection just as bad, and often a lot worse, than an infection in your hand or stomach.
Good dental health can add 10 years to your lifetime.
– Dr. Charles Mayo, Founder of the nationally acclaimed Mayo Clinic.
Medical research has shown that many conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, problems in pregnancy, osteoporosis and diabetes and respiratory diseases are among the many serious diseases that are related to dental health.
Evidence is mounting that people with periodontal (gum) disease may be more at risk for heart disease and strokes. That’s because bacteria from the gum tissues may enter the blood stream and cause small blood clots that may contribute to the clogging of arteries. The inflammation caused by gum disease may also contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits inside heart arteries.
Diabetics tend to have more gum disease. Why? As a general rule, diabetes can slow the healing process and lower one’s resistance to infections. Research also shows they suffer greater tooth loss than patients without diabetes. Good dental health may be linked to a reduced risk of diabetic complications!
Osteoporosis is a degenerative disease associated with the loss of bone mineral. Osteoporosis has been suggested as a risk factor for oral bone loss and for tooth loss, due to a decrease in bone density in the jaw supporting teeth. Women with severe osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than are women who do not have osteoporosis.
Learn more about more the relationship between your health and your dental health.