Heart Disease, Infertility, Miscarriage, Osteoporosis, Respiratory Disease, Diabetes, and Gum Disease…
These conditions don’t seem like they’re related, but they are. They’re connected by a thread as thin and as strong as the dental floss that can help prevent them: Periodontal and dental health. Reversing oral infections could be the first step to lowering your risk of major medical problems.
Periodontal disease causes an inflammatory response in your gums. They bleed and throw off bacterial colonies, which can enter the bloodstream. Plaque can accumulate within the cardiovascular system and heart.
Infertility and Miscarriage
Studies show that women with gum disease take longer to conceive. The exact connection isn’t understood, but it’s there, without a doubt. Even the incidence of miscarriage and stillbirth is increased for patients with periodontitis. Men with gum disease can also experience an increased risk of erectile dysfunction and infertility.
Gum disease weakens the soft tissues in the jaw, causing tooth loss, which in turn causes the bone to deteriorate. That inflammatory response caused by the bacteria also causes osteoporosis. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to indicate that the newer treatments for osteoporosis help the jaw bones; one group of medicines can actually make the bone density of the jaw worse!
Diseases of the lungs like COPD and pneumonia are directly connected to the bacteria overgrowth in the mouth. Since you breathe through your mouth, especially when you’re congested, all the germs get inhaled into your lungs. People with chronic pulmonary diseases have worse periodontal health than those without it. Both are inflammatory, both are dangerous.
Consumption of sugar causes plaque buildup in your mouth, feeding the bacteria that cause gum disease. The inflammation allows more bacteria to enter into the bloodstream; bacteria and sugar, that is. That excess sugar raises your blood sugar levels and can keep it spiked long enough to damage the insulin response system and contribute to type 2 diabetes.
Continued Research Indicates Periodontal Health is a Predictor to Overall Health
Studies are still continuing on the relationship of periodontal disease to these conditions and others like Alzheimer’s and stroke. While the cause cannot always be determined, the relationship is scientifically sound. People with excellent periodontal health have less occurrence of these diseases than those with periodontal disease. In some cases, like with heart disease, the difference is exponential.
The Bottom Line
Your mouth is literally the gateway to the rest of your body. The care, or neglect, you show your teeth and gums will have radiant effects on your overall health. You probably already know how to keep your mouth clean:
- Brush and floss twice daily
- Rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash
- Change your toothbrush four times a year (such as at the beginning of each season)
- Visit Dr. Agarwal for a cleaning and exam every six months
At Raleigh Dental Arts, we are committed to helping you achieve the best health possible. At your semi-annual visit, we will not only clean your teeth but also screen for oral cancer and check for periodontal disease. If you’re ready to begin taking back your health, contact us today to schedule your next appointment.