A Strong Link Between a Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Body

A Strong Link Between a Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Body

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Problems in your mouth may seem like just that…problems in your mouth. But they are so much more. When your teeth become unhealthy, they affect your bones and gum tissue and unhealthy gums impact your overall health. In fact, periodontal disease has been linked to systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

When an infection develops in the mouth, it not only affects the mouth and periodontium (the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth), but like any other infection…it can spread into other parts of the body. In fact, any infection in the body (including one in the mouth) produces C-Reactive Protein (CRP) which creates “an irritation to blood vessel walls that ultimately leads to artery narrowing.” And when a person’s arteries start getting smaller, the amount of blood flowing to the heart is impaired, which can result in cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke. Statistics report that patients with severe gum disease have been “shown to be twice as likely to have a fatal heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke” as patients who are free from periodontal disease or problems.

Medical journals are more consistently reporting the impact of oral health on other health issues. In January of 2007, The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported “a relationship between pancreatic cancer and periodontal disease.” And research continues to affirm that problems in the teeth and gums are not issues to be disregarded…because their overall impact can be huge.

Therefore, keeping your mouth, teeth, gums and jaw bone healthy are an important part of maintaining good overall health. In fact, even medical and dental insurance companies are recognizing the importance of good dental care. Some are even providing better periodontal treatment coverage in their policies. And, when patients have complex health problems, some health insurance companies are monitoring those patients to ensure that they are getting routine dental care as a part of their healthcare regimen.

The challenging part of this whole issue is that periodontal disease has few, if any, symptoms until it is in an advanced (infection) stage and bone loss (along with other overall health problems) is occurring. Research indicates that 80 percent of adults in this county have some stage of gum disease–much of it undetected. If any of the following signs are present, see your dentist right away because they could be a symptom of gum disease or of something else going on in your body and if left to manifest, could be the beginning of something serious.

* Red, swollen or tender gums
* Gums that have recessed or pulled away from your teeth
* Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
* Persistent bad breath
* Teeth that are loose or separating
* A change in the way your teeth fit together
* Pus between your teeth and gums

Yet periodontal disease can be prevented. To begin with, good daily oral hygiene habits that include brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day along with dental visits (that include a professional cleaning) at least once every six months can help prevent periodontal disease. Because of the lack of symptoms until damage is already being done, regular dental checkups are the best way to ensure that any form of periodontal disease is not present or for stopping it in the early stages if it does get started.

Along with a beautiful smile and healthy teeth and gums, there are now even more reasons to make sure that you take care of your oral health…a healthy mouth is a very important part of having a healthy body.

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