With the start of a New Year and resolutions of getting healthy, it is key to not overlook your mouth. In fact, it is more important than most people realize.
Research has long suggested that there is a link between gum disease and other health issues, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers feel that if you treat severe gum disease, you can help prevent fewer heart attacks and strokes. In fact, many scientists are finding that by treating severe gum disease you can actually improve the health of the heart.
There is also a correlation between your oral health and diabetes. Research also reports that gum disease could make certain people more likely to develop early signs of diabetes. Diabetics are three to four times higher at risk of developing gum disease than non-diabetics, because of their being more vulnerable to developing infections. In fact, diabetics with untreated gum disease may find it nearly impossible to manage their blood sugar levels and diabetes therapies can fail to work.
It doesn’t stop there. Studies also showed that bacteria normally found in swollen gums have also been found in the placentas of pregnant women with high blood pressure. Gum disease has been shown to create a higher risk of premature births, which of course places a baby at high risk for problems. The good news is that pregnant women can safely receive treatment for gum disease during their pregnancy.
I’m sure if you watch television you have seen Sally Field in commercials about the dangers of osteoporosis, a bone disease that can lead to increased risk for bone fractures. Unfortunately, not only does osteoporosis pose a problem for the back (spine), hips and wrists, it also increases the risk of tooth loss. Osteoporosis can weaken the jaw which may lower a person’s defense against bacteria that affect the gums. Bacteria in the gums mean a high probability for gum disease. If you have osteoporosis, be sure to brush and floss on a regular basis and don’t forget to visit us because if you are already losing bone mass, you’re at a higher risk for losing teeth.
As you begin your goal of getting healthy, make sure you schedule an exam with your dentist so you can get headed in the right direction. Give us a call today.