The Link Between Gum Disease and General Health Problems
For years, the evidence has been stacking up. Chronic dental disease puts your general health at risk in more ways than one. Heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even pre-term, low-birth-weight babies have all been linked to untreated gum disease.
Bad Bacteria, Coronary Constriction, and Clots
Many studies correlate poor oral health with increased heart disease. So, what's the connection? Scientists propose two possibilities. First, when dental plaque bacteria escape into the blood stream, they travel into and inflame coronary arteries. This inflammation narrows the arteries, constricts blood flow, deprives the heart of adequate oxygen, and leads to heart trouble. A second theory purports that those same blood-borne bacteria stimulate clot formation, blocking arteries and reducing vital oxygen supply to the heart. Additional studies have linked a particular gum disease bacterium to the existence of damaging atherosclerotic deposits in coronary arteries. These deposits narrow vessels, decrease heart muscle oxygen supply, and promote heart disease. In fact, it has been conclusively demonstrated that the risk of developing heart disease increased by 168% in people with periodontal disease.
Vulnerable Lungs, Weak Bones, and Tiny Babies
Many scientists are concerned with the connection between gum disease and respiratory disease. It's long been known that tobacco increases the risk of periodontal disease; but now studies are investigating an independent link between lung trouble and poor oral health. The skeletal system isn't immune to the adverse effects of gum disease either. One extensive study demonstrated and documented, for the first time, an association between weakened bones, tooth loss, and gum disease in women. Further, periodontal disease in pregnant women seems to be a risk factor for pre-term, low-birth-weight babies.
Better Health, Consistent Care, and a Happy Dental Home
Of course, even without considering these compelling secondary concerns, it's common knowledge that gum disease can significantly impact oral health. In fact, 70% of adult tooth loss is attributed to gum disease. So it's not only smart, but critical to your overall health, to obtain and maintain good dental health! Yet, sadly, statistics show that half of all Americans do not seek or receive any form of dental care; while those who do see a dentist often don’t receive consistent care from a dental office where they feel comfortable and cared for.
The moral of the story? Be proactive about your oral health. Don't wait to seek professional care until you find drops of blood on your toothbrush or floss. And definitely don't wait until you notice that your teeth are loose for no reason. Instead, find a dental practice where you're welcomed and treated as an individual with unique oral and overall healthcare needs. Or, as the Journal of the American Dental Association put it, remember that "dental care is best managed when there is an established relationship between the patient and the practitioner which is based in compassion, mutual responsibility and trust. It presumes that the doctor is well trained and capable."
A good place to start is right here at our Broomall dental office. We provide thorough checkups and cleanings to maintain strong teeth and gums. Our DIAGNOdent laser scans teeth for areas of demineralization, the earliest stage of decay, so that we can administer conservative treatment to preserve your smile. If we find evidence of gum disease, Dr. White provides non-surgical treatments, including laser therapy, to alleviate symptoms and renew periodontal health. Our team is trustworthy, trained, and prepared to help you keep your teeth for life.
And remember, we're more than happy to welcome your friends, coworkers, and family members into our practice. Dr. White and our team provide sincere, compassionate, appropriate care to improve overall health and wellness. Your referrals are not only appreciated, they’re the lifeblood of our practice and a reflection of our excellent service and care.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. White, your partner in the quest for a beautiful, healthy smile. Our Broomall office delivers exemplary service and distinctive dental care to residents of Broomall, Philadelphia, Delaware County, and surrounding areas.