Regularly scheduled dates with our hygienist coupled with periodontal therapy just might extend your golden years, according to research . This might seem like something out of science fiction, however, the germs from gum disease are able to migrate all over you showing up in vital organs, joints and muscles. This is why it’s more important than ever to not miss visits to our hygienist and ensure that your periodontal health is constantly managed.
“Periodontal disease and poor oral hygiene are red flags when it comes to an early death,” explains health and wellness author, Dr. Michael F. Roizen. He cites that periodontal disease has been proven to be associated with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, digestive problems, osteoporosis, and immune disorders. Most people don’t realize it, however, adding up the total infected area of gum disease in the mouth and gums, you get a total infected area of about two inches in diameter. Of course, “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. If you had an open sore that big on your face, you be making a medical appointment that day.
In addition to gum disease’s inflammatory effect on your body’s internal systems, the bacteria has also been found to hinder any treatment regimen you are receiving for any medical condition.
The Signposts of Gum Disease:
• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth
• Blood on your floss after flossing your teeth
• Sore, red or swollen gum tissue
• Loose and/or wobbly teeth
• Tooth roots becoming exposed
• Untreatable sour breath (halitosis)
• Pus between the teeth
• Discomfort when you chew or bite on something
• Recent change in your bite
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth
• Finding food packed up in your gums
Doctors Are Now Advising Saying, “Ahhh” To Prevent Heart Disease
When you visit West Mill Smiles’ hygienists to help prevent periodontal disease, you are aggressively lowering your odds of developing heart attack and heart failure.
The way that gum disease affects your circulatory system is that periodontal disease launches a domino run of chemical events that increase swelling and inflammation throughout the body. Should the heart and arteries become swollen, it can cause blood clots, putting you at danger for heart attack or stroke. In addition, gum disease germs may also stick to the inner heart lining, which may cause infective endocarditis.
Over the last ten years, recurring studies have found that there is a strong link between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One consequence of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. When gum disease gets bad enough, your teeth can wiggle out.
Researchers in Finland looked at the correlation 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. The researchers discovered 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 likelihood of stroke by a factor of 10.
The Relationship Between Gum Disease And Pulmonary Disease
Over 500 kinds of bacteria burrowed into diseased gums can also get into your saliva. When you breathe, the air picks up droplets of saliva to help moisten your lung tissue. To see this for yourself, hold a small makeup mirror close to your lips and then lightly breathe on it. The mirror will fog up a little. Those little drops of your saliva are breathed into your lungs where they deposit their bacterial hitchhikers.
This warm, moist paradise is where the micro-organisms make a colony to bring on swelling and inflammation which can lead to the next round of pulmonary disease like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD. On top of that, if you are already sick with a pulmonary illness, the bacteria from your gums can sabotage your prescribed treatment.
Diabetes Brought On By Oral Infection
While diabetics are known to be at risk for gum disease, we couldn’t prove which one was a result of the other. In 1993, researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health followed about 9,000 adults who were not diabetics. Over time, 817 of the participants did actually contract diabetes. It was revealed that those with serious gum disease had twice the odds of contracting diabetes within 20 years, even after adjusting for age, smoking, obesity and diet.
“These findings support the view that periodontal disease contributes to the development of diabetes,” according to Dr. Demmer, associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.
What This All Means To Dentists
In the past, dental practice teams strived to save your teeth with regular cleanings. Today, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. 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. Today, as we take care of your mouth, we’re not just saving your teeth, which in itself is a sound commitment, we could also be protecting your life as well.
Dr. Lee concludes, “It’s no longer good enough to just keep watch on suspicious spots in the gum tissue. Instead, eradicating gum disease will become a critical action step in maintaining, 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.”