You want to be healthy: You exercise to keep your body in good shape, you eat well because you know a proper diet is essential for wellness, you practice stress management to keep your soul refreshed, and you’ve even grasped the reality that caring for your human spirit will enable you to thrive. But, did you know caring for your teeth is equally important in maintaining good physical health? In today’s Gilbert, AZ Lifetime Family Dental blog post, we’d like to share with you recent findings about the link between overall health and oral care.
Overall Health and a Healthy Body
Before we dive into connecting oral care and overall health, we first need to understand periodontal disease, a disease that affects our teeth, gums, and jaw. Briefly defined, periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the structures that surround and support the teeth. It begins as an inflammation of the gums, and in the early stages, it’s called gingivitis. Gingivitis is easily cured, but if left untreated, it progresses to periodontal disease.
Inflammation and bacterial infection is considered to have moved into periodontal disease when it has spread to the area around the teeth and below the gumline. Eventually, it can even progress far enough to cause tooth loss. But that’s not all that happens when periodontal disease occurs. In recent years studies have proven there is a link between this disease and a host of other physical ailments.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, one half of Americans aged thirty and older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. That’s more than 64 million Americans! Another source said it affects one in every two adults. Symptoms can include swollen gums, irritation, and bleeding. The more advanced stages can include receding gums, and damaged tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease has been linked to other diseases: kidney disease, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and more. So, what’s the connection between gum disease and other physical issues? It all has to do with inflammation. The inflammation in your mouth that creates periodontal disease can allow bad bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Once the bad bacteria is in your bloodstream, it can reach other parts of your body and produce inflammation, ultimately opening the door to other disease.
Hope for a Healthier You
There is hope. Evidence suggests, for example, that if gum disease is treated, diabetes improves, and if periodontal disease is treated, the level of diabetes improves. At Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, we can’t stress enough the importance of good oral home care for your teeth and your gums. Now that you know there is a link between overall health and oral care, you understand why we have continued to emphasize brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing daily, as well as scheduling your biannual cleanings and checkups. We want your teeth and gums to be healthy, for a healthy you. Take care of your smile and your health: call us to schedule that next cleaning and checkup appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/23/2018) llmicrofono Oggiono (Flickr)