Oral Systemic Link
The more information we learn about dentistry, the more it is clear that our oral health directly impacts our overall health and that our overall health can be evident in our oral health. The oral cavity is not separate from the rest of the body but is very much in connection with it. Bacterial infections in our mouths can cause havoc on other areas of the body, and problems in the body can leave our mouths more susceptible to oral problems. At Kelly Smile Dentistry, we can help you be healthier overall by helping you have a healthy smile.
Recognizing the Relationship
Studies are increasingly noting the relationship between your gum health, including gum or periodontal disease and other conditions. This may include cardiovascular or heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other systemic conditions.
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, periodontitis, or periodontal disease, can cause more than damage to your teeth and gums. Patients with gum disease have an active bacterial infection in their body that their body cannot heal on its own, so the infection continues to rage until the source is removed. The body will respond with various immune responses including the growth of an abscess to separate the source of infection, it will send disease-fighting cells to the area, and the gum tissue will attempt to pull away from the source of infection which also includes pulling away from the teeth decreasing the support of the teeth and leading to tooth loss. None of these responses are beneficial to the patient. Additionally, periodontal disease has been found to cause inflammation in other areas of the body beyond the oral cavity.
Cardiovascular Health and Oral Health
If you have gum disease, you are at greater risk for heart-related problems. This information may surprise you; many ask how these two are connected. Bacteria and germs from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and attach itself to damaged areas in your heart. As the bacteria and germs rest inside your heart, it can cause inflammation resulting in illnesses such as endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. You can reduce the chances of heart disease through regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Patients who suffer from diabetes can also suffer from gum disease. Additionally, patients who suffer from gum disease, have an increased chance of developing diabetes.
A common condition of diabetes is decreased saliva production. Saliva is a natural way that our mouths continually wash our teeth, trying to keep them clean. Patients with diabetes will need to be more diligent in drinking plenty of water to replace the lack of saliva, along with watching the foods they consume. They may also want to find other saliva-inducing tricks such as chewing sugar-free gum.
Patients with gum disease are at an increased risk of developing diabetes. The bacteria of gum disease has been found to increase glucose levels, increasing a patient's risk of developing diabetes.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Oral Health
Both rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease are inflammatory disorders. Studies have shown that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at significantly increased risk of developing gum disease. Patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will want to be more diligent in their home dental hygiene routine along with diligent dentist office visits to ensure they have a healthy mouth.
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