You do all the right things to stay healthy: eat well, exercise regularly, and get annual medical checkups. You even try to stay updated on the latest health-related news. But what about your oral health, your teeth and gums?
It just may surprise you that the link between oral health and overall or systemic health is firmly established. In an article on the U.S. Surgeon General’s report notes:
“Oral examinations can reveal signs and symptoms of more than 90% of the systemic diseases people experience. Identifying these early signs and symptoms may facilitate early diagnosis and treatment, potentially resulting in improved systemic health.”
Now both the dental and medical community is working to get the word out to everyone that oral health matters when it comes to overall body health.
What Is the Oral-Systemic Health Connection?
Typically, most people think of each organ in their anatomy as separate: mouth, heart, liver, kidneys, and the like. It is easy to overlook the pathways throughout our bodies that carry blood, oxygen—and disease—from organ to organ and the role of the immune system as it responds to a threat.
- Ignoring the body’s linking pathways can lead to otherwise preventable, undiagnosed diseases. It turns out that the presence of periodontal disease in your mouth, for example, can trigger an immune response in the body that may result in facilitating the spread of disease.
- Moreover, there is ample opportunity for periodontal disease to set up shop in the mouth. RDHmag.com reports, “It is estimated that between 500 and 700 species of bacteria exist in the oral cavity. The nutrient-rich and oxygen-poor environment … provides ideal conditions for the growth of oral bacteria.”
- Left untreated, periodontal disease or oral infections—with their associated inflammation—can be a host for bacteria and other disease “mediators” which can be transmitted to other organs.
- Affect blood’s ability to properly clot which may result in a heart attack or stroke; and/or
- Restrict arterial blood flow.
Which Health Conditions Are Most Likely?
Primarily, research points to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. For years the media diligently reported the link between high cholesterol and heart disease. Surprising new research, according to DentistryIQ, shows that cholesterol may have a caution.
“Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease. A recent analysis shows that the potential heart disease risk for patients with periodontal disease may be even greater than for those with high cholesterol.”
Heart disease is not the sole caution. Periodontal research has shown that type 2 diabetes and periodontal disease are also strongly linked.
Good News to Help You Maintain Your Overall Well-Being
What does this mean for you? The good news is, you can play a role in staying healthy. Our dental checkups provide patients the latest in dental technology for precision examinations and diagnostics using 3D imaging, laser dentistry and digital X-rays.
Our doctors have advanced clinical skills for a comprehensive approach to oral health. Optimal oral hygiene is only one aspect of overall well being. Tooth alignment, tissue health, bone health, and bite alignment can have a long term impact on oral and overall health as well.
The innovation in the dental care we provide is supported by a team of dental professionals dedicated to our patient’s overall health including encouraging patients to:
- Take a truly holistic perspective on health maintenance: play an active role in preserving oral health with regular dental check-ups.
- Consult with our dentists on ways to be proactive in protecting their oral health and overall well-being.
- Review proper home care and maintain the ideal frequency of dental checkups for the individual’s oral health.
Your Oral Health Impacts More Than Just Your Smile
If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the dentist or you want to be sure your oral health is on track we can help. Contact us today for a dental checkup!