No Jokeā€¦ Ignoring Your Teeth Could Kill You

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Gum disease, or more accurately, periodontal disease, is a chronic infection caused by more than five hundred different kinds of bacteria in your mouth that are known to also infect the organs of your body.

By all accounts, more than 60 million Americans show signs of periodontal (gum) disease, a chronic bacterial infection that attacks gum tissue and even the bone that anchors the teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, enzymes excreted by the bacteria attack the gum tissue, allowing bacteria to enter the blood and lymph circulatory systems. The bacteria and their by-products trigger an inflammatory reaction in vulnerable areas of the body. For seniors, children and anyone with a weakened immune system, this new assault could have a cumulative effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.

In addition to gum disease’s inflammatory effect on your body, it might also hinder any medicine you are receiving for a medical condition.

The Dental Center, LLC Gum Disease Anne

The Red Flags of Periodontal Disease:

• Blood on your toothbrush after brushing your teeth
• Blood on your floss after flossing your teeth
• Painful, inflamed or puffy gum tissue
• Wobbly and/or loose teeth
• Gums receding around the teeth
• Untreatable sour breath (halitosis)
• Pus or white film at the gum line
• Sharp pain when biting down or chewing
• Noticeable changes in your bite
• Spaces that have appeared between teeth
• Food getting lodged up in your gums

The Dental Center, LLC Periodontal Illustration 4

Experts Are Now Advise Saying, “Ahhh” To Stop Heart Disease 

By allowing Dr. Bell and Dr. Honor to guard against gum disease, you are saying, “No” to developing cardiovascular problems. 

Studies have revealed that men and women with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those who don’t. Researchers believe that bacteria originating from advanced gum disease can spread through the bloodstream and have a contributing effect on disease in the heart and other parts of the body.

Over the last ten years, a number of studies have found that there is a definite association 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 will fall out.

Finnish researchers decided to look for an association 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 between the ages of 45 and 64. The researchers discovered that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from ongoing gum disease also had a higher incidence of heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease raises the danger of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the likelihood of stroke by 1000%.

Periodontal Disease Now Shown To Predict Type II Diabetes

Out of control viral and bacterial invaders bring about an increase in your body’s resistance to insulin, which disrupts blood sugar control. If you are a diabetic, increasing infection makes insulin resistance worse and significantly worsens your ability to keep their blood sugar regulated. Periodontal disease and diabetes are intertwined in cause and effect. If you have diabetes, you should look into having a thorough oral health examination. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you have periodontitis, you need to keep a sharp lookout for diabetes.

Did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association states periodontitis causes diabetes.
• Bacterial substances that induce inflammation find their way into the bloodstream and increase insulin resistance.
• Adults with periodontal disease are 2 times more likely to have insulin resistance.
• Type II diabetics have a 7 times greater mortality rate when they have severe periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease Get’s Into Your Lungs

Inflammatory bacteria found in infected gum tissue will also find their way into your saliva. When you breathe, your breath gathers little droplets of saliva to keep your lungs moist. If you want to actually see the little droplets, just place a mirror about two inches from your mouth and slowly breathe out. A mist will appear on the glass of the mirror. Now, imagine those little droplets breathed into your lungs where they, and their cargo of bacteria, fall upon the mucosal lining.

Here is where the bacteria start a family and induce inflammation and swelling which can lead to another case of lung disease including emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia, and COPD. Add to that the fact that, if you are are currently ill with a pulmonary illness, theinflammatory bacteria can sabotage your prescribed treatment.

What This All Means To Dentists

Yesterday, dental professionals vowed to save your teeth with regular cleanings. From now on, our attention must expand beyond the mouth. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, it puts you at a higher risk for more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. From now on, as we care for your teeth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound objective, we could also be protecting your life as well.

Dr. Bell and Dr. Honor conclude, “It’s not enough anymore to just be aware of at-risk areas in the gum tissue. Rather, attacking gum disease aggressively will become an important part of preserving 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.”

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