• Regular Dental Exams Affect More Than Your Mouth

  • gum disease and health

    Feel like you just don’t have time to schedule regular dental exams? What if you knew that twice-yearly dental care could help prevent issues more significant than tooth decay? Emerging research continues to suggest just that – the links between gum disease and systemic health are growing. Whether you’re already at a risk of heart disease, stroke, or respiratory disease, or are hoping to do everything possible for your future health, routine exams are the right way to go. Here’s why.

    Why Gum Disease May Be Linked to the Whole Body

    Scientists still aren’t sure of the precise reason that periodontal disease appears to impact systemic health problems. The current theory is related to inflammation. When your gums are infected, they swell. This inflammatory response may trigger similar reactions elsewhere in the body. This would explain why gum disease can trigger heart-related concerns, since your arteries are swollen and don’t function properly.

    An older theory about the connection drew from the presence of bacteria that occupy the mouth during infections. Researchers suspected that the bacteria would travel through the bloodstream or be inhaled, migrating elsewhere in the body and leading to other isolated infections.

    While the ADA has yet to release a definitive statement on the gum disease/systemic health link, and research is ongoing, past studies have shown connections to

    • Heart disease
    • Respiratory disease
    • Diabetes
    • Some cancers
    • Osteoporosis

    Simple Gum Disease Prevention

    Gingivitis and gum disease don’t always have symptoms that are clear to patients. They’re not necessarily accompanied by pain, and the visual changes in your mouth aren’t always noticeable unless you’re looking carefully. This is why seeing a dentist every six months (or more, if you’re at a higher risk of periodontitis) is so crucial. If we are able to catch ailing gums early, all that may be required to bring them back to health is some improvements in your oral hygiene.

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