It may not sound pleasant to call your mouth a “breeding ground” but just think of other areas where moisture is constant. There’s mold in bathrooms and fungus in dark damp caves growing all the time. Your mouth is actually facing similar conditions, except every time you eat the bacteria breeding in your mouth are fed. No wonder they thrive!
Linking Healthy Teeth And Gums To A Healthy Body
Research has confirmed a link between the health of your teeth and gums and the general health of your body. That’s why Sunrise Family Dentistry created a dental plan for their neighbors in Roseville & Citrus Heights that makes ongoing and regular dental care more affordable. Keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy can prevent problems in two major areas:
1. Systemic Health
It is known that bacteria in the mouth can cause poor systemic health. Systemic health is a term that means exactly what it sounds like – the health of the systems in the body. These systems include the cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems. Research has linked periodontitis which involves progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth (i.e. if left untreated, can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth) with the development of certain systemic diseases such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The bacteria enter the bloodstream and are carried to the heart, lungs and other organs where they proceed to create or aggravate a number of health problems:
* Cardiovascular disease
* Chronic inflammation
* Pulmonary Disease
People who have periodontitis are at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease because the bacteria build-up in the bloodstream leads to excessive inflammatory responses. The low-grade chronic inflammation impacts the body’s organs including the heart and arteries over time. Bacteria also play a part in the development of the plaque that is associated with hardening of the arteries and other circulatory diseases.
Though studies have not yet identified the specific cause-and-effect relationship, almost all results show there is an association between periodontitis and diseases such as atherosclerosis and the presence of periodontitis. But it’s not just the heart that can be negatively impacted by the presence of too many bacteria in the mouth.
There is ongoing research to determine the relationship between diabetes and periodontitis. People with diabetes are more likely to develop severe periodontitis than the non-diabetic. The studies are focusing on the relationship of mouth bacteria and glycemic control which is an important element in the control of diabetes.
Periodontitis is also being investigated as having a relationship to the development of pulmonary disease. The bacteria travel the bloodstream to the lungs where it then causes severe problems like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as micro-organisms damage the lung tissue.
Also included in the studies is the relationship of diseases that involve inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis. Even if periodontitis does not have a direct relationship as a cause of these types of diseases it is probable that periodontitis will always complicate the management of the disease by impacting the inflammatory system in the body.
2. General Health
In a nutshell, if you have periodontitis there is a good chance you are overworking your immune system by keeping the inflammatory response active on a continual basis. This can lead to the inability of the body to use the appropriate immune response to normal day-to-day threats. Lipid (i.e. fats) levels remain high leading to a weakened immune system and an increased probability of developing cardiovascular or other systemic diseases.
Studies are also looking at the relationship of oral health to cancer. It is thought that periodontitis can lead to open sores in the mouth or on the gums that eventually become cancerous. This is due to constant exposure to mouth bacteria and other elements found in foods and the environment.
Periodontitis can also impact the reproductive systems of women. Studies are showing that women with periodontitis have a higher probability of an early delivery or delivering a baby that is underweight.
Clearly the impact on systemic and general health can be severe when oral health is poor. You can think of it this way: how can you possibly be in great health if your body is constantly battling unhealthy bacteria levels?
Even if you don’t develop a systemic disease, advanced periodontitis left untreated will eventually decay the bone holding your teeth.
Fortunately, maintaining good oral health is not difficult. You need to:
* Brush your teeth daily
* Use fluoride fortified mouthwash and/or toothpaste
* Floss each time you brush
* Eat a nutritionally balanced diet
* Visit the dentist regularly for teeth cleaning and care
About the author:
Dr. Elmira Abraamyan has dedicated the past 16 years to her family and her practice.
She has extensive training in all facets of dentistry.
She has been in private practice in Sacramento since 1995.
Schedule an appointment today at SunriseFamilyDentists.com
Now serving Roseville & Citrus Heights (916) 520-1717