THE ORAL AND OVERALL HEALTH CONNECTION
WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN… healthy mouth equals healthy body! Most people will admit this is not what comes to mind first when they think of dental care. But, your oral and overall health are very much connected and directly effect on another.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report
In 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General released this statement, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”
Periodontal Disease’s connection to Chronic Diseases of the Body
It is not a widely known fact that many diseases and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, nor that good oral health can increase overall health. This is why it is important to make all patients aware that there is a direct correlation to systemic disease and the health of the mouth. This is particularly true of periodontal or “gum” disease.
Did you know that up to 22 percent of all people diagnosed with diabetes also have periodontal disease, the disease that eats away your gums and bone? Because diabetics have a decreased ability to fight off infections they are more likely to have periodontal (gum) disease. In a correlated manner, bacteria found in the mouth cause blood sugar to spike and destabilize, making diabetes harder to control.
It is not fully understood by doctors why heart and gum disease are so closely linked together, but approximately 91 percent of patients with heart disease also have periodontal (gum) disease. We do know that the same bacteria found in your mouth can be pushed into your blood stream through areas around your teeth. Additionally, it is believed that the link between the heart and mouth is due to inflammation.
Here are some scary statistics which may surprise you: researchers have discovered that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.
Don’t forget that cancer treatments often cause mouth problems. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause mouth sores, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.
Other conditions that have been linked to gum disease include stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are also at risk of complications with their pregnancy, specifically they are more likely to have preterm babies and low birth-weight babies.
A Healthy Mouth? That’s Up to You
The evidence and connection between oral and overall health is overwhelming. That is why it is important to see your dentist on a regular basis and help him help you make your overall health improved by allowing him/her to care for your mouth.
Though there are many disease of the mouth that are correlated with diseases in the body, it is comforting to know that dental diseases are usually easy to prevent, eliminate, or control when done with consistency and the help of your dental professional.
For all of your family, cosmetic or restorative dental needs, we invite you to contact Paris Family Dental. Call us today to schedule your appointment at (903) 732-0061! Visit us at 2333 Lamar Ave, Paris, TX 75460 to learn more about our team, our practice, and how we provide excellence in dentistry in our area.