Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body Connection

Dr. Benjamin Coon, D.D.S.
The mouth is a window into the health of the body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. For example, systemic diseases—those that affect the entire body, like diabetes or immune deficiency diseases—may first become apparent because of accelerated decay, infection. delayed healing and other oral problems.

Without a doubt, there is a connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Bleeding gums, visible root surfaces and loose teeth are not normal at any age. These are usually signs of an infection called periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal infections can be serious and can affect not only the mouth, but potentially your overall health. In addition, an increasing body of medical evidence suggests that an unhealthy mouth may worsen serious medical problems like heart disease, stroke, bacterial pneumonia and diabetes. Pregnant women with periodontitis (advanced periodontal disease) may be at increased risk of delivering preterm and/or low-birth-weight infants.

More studies are needed, but some researchers suspect that bacteria and inflammation linked to periodontitis play a role in several systemic diseases or conditions. Likewise, diseases such as diabetes, blood cell disorders, and immunity diseases can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making periodontal diseases more severe.

People with diabetes often have periodontal disease. In addition, there is evidence that people with diabetes are more likely to develop and have more severe periodontitis than those without diabetes. Some studies suggest that periodontitis can make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Although periodontitis may contribute to these health conditions, it’s important to understand that just because two conditions occur at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that one condition causes the other. That’s why researchers are examining what happens when periodontitis is treated in people with these various health problems.

Given the potential link between periodontitis and systemic health problems, prevention is essential in maintaining overall health. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Clean between your teeth with floss or another type of inter-dental cleaner once a day. Your dentist may recommend using an antimicrobial mouth rinse as part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks. And finally, schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove calculus, or tartar, which traps plaque bacteria along the gum line.

Dr. Benjamin Coon, D.D.S.
Glenwood Meadows Dental
40 Market Street, Suite A
Glenwood Springs, CO  81601


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