There are several rewards for maintaining good oral health: fresh breath, more attractive teeth, the absence of tooth or gum pain. According to published research, the benefits of oral health don’t stop at the mouth. There is also evidence that healthy teeth and gums can promote whole-body health, decreasing your risk for serious health concerns, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Inflammation: the Good and the Bad
The body has a defense mechanism that is referred to as the inflammatory response. If you have ever had a cut, or have had a dental condition that has affected your gums, you know the signs: swelling, redness, pain. These uncomfortable symptoms are indicators of the body’s attempt to heal itself. This is a good thing! If the problem, say gum disease, persists, so does inflammation. This isn’t so great.
The inflammatory response that occurs with gum disease is the same as the response in rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. According to research, a chronic condition like periodontal disease can lead to persistent inflammation that lurks beneath the surface, all throughout the body. When the right conditions come along, the stage is primed for disease – a potentially serious disease.
There are a number of theories on how oral bacteria could possibly be linked to such serious events such as heart attack and stroke. Because the same type of bacterium have been found in the mouth as well as in the heart, there is a very real possibility that these tiny microorganisms actually do travel from one part of the body to another. This could easily occur through ingestion, inhalation, and through the blood stream directly. Another theory is that bacteria, which are living creatures, deposit byproduct wherever they go. This is thought to stimulate the proliferation of C-reactive proteins, a major factor in predicting heart attack.
Let’s Move on . . .
No one likes getting stuck in “doom and gloom.” Fortunately, there is no need to when discussing the oral-systemic link. Now that the dental profession knows more about this connection, there is a greater priority placed on educating patients about the importance of oral hygiene. When you visit us, we create a partnership based on your needs, and we continue to support you as these needs may change.
Don’t wait for any dental problem to become obvious. Schedule your check up and cleaning now.