We all know how important good oral hygiene is for healthy teeth and a winning smile. What many people may not be aware of, though, is how important oral hygiene is to our overall health. My Scottsdale Dentist understands just how important good oral hygiene is to our patients over all health.
Daily brushing and flossing not only helps keep your teeth clean and breath fresh, it also helps to control bacteria on teeth. When bacteria build up, the gums are more likely to become infected. When gums are infected, they become inflamed as a result of the immune system’s efforts to combat the infection.
Chemicals produced by inflamed gums damage the gums and the bone structure that holds the teeth. Periodontitis is the disease that results from inflamed gums and can cause health problems throughout the body. A 2011 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report stated that people with periodontal disease are 40% more likely to have chronic health conditions than those with healthy gums.
Oral Hygiene and Other Health Conditions
In recent years, researchers have been studying the relationship between oral hygiene and other conditions to better understand the connection. An article in WebMD listed several health conditions that are more likely to affect people who have periodontitis:
Diabetes Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to use insulin properly for controlling blood sugar. This results in a kind off negative feedback loop, where high blood sugar helps to feed the infections and make the inflammation even worse.
Heart Disease Heart disease patients are more likely to have periodontitis than people without heart disease by a ratio of 91% to 66%. The mechanisms for this connection are not yet fully understood. One theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes blood vessels elsewhere to become inflamed. This inflammation restricts blood flow in the body, causing the heart to work harder, which increases blood pressure.
Cancer Studies have reported a “surprising” connection between gum disease and the risk for various cancers.
Gerald P. Curatola, D.D.S. wrote in Dr. OZ Magazine: “…gum disease has been identified as the body’s most abundant source of chronic low-grade inflammation which is described as smoldering fire in your body where the alarm bell is not answered. This causes a decrease in the body’s immune response, and eventually, irreversible damage to the immune system, which is being identified as a likely factor for the increased cancer risk.”
Pregnancy Hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy can increase their risk for periodontitis. Development of a fetus in the womb may be interfered with by infection and inflammation in other parts of the body. Many factors can contribute to low birth weight and premature birth. Researchers are still studying this connection.
As research continues into the importance of oral hygiene to overall health, My Scottsdale Dentist will continue to keep you informed of the best ways to protect your dental health. Contact us to schedule your next appointment.