Good oral health means more than just fresh breath and a full mouth of pearly whites; it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can best be controlled with good oral hygiene. If you neglect your gums and teeth, more than just your mouth will suffer. Studies indicate that your overall health is directly tied to your oral health. Which means it is important that you make regular visits to your dental clinic in Torrance.
Periodontal disease is just a fancy word for gum disease or gingivitis. Gum disease can lead to swollen, irritated gums and bleeding. If you have more advanced gum disease, you could suffer receding gums and damaged tissue around the teeth and bones. You could even lose your teeth.
Gum disease is prevalent among Americans, it affects one in two people. Research continues to link gum disease with conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In fact, gum disease is now recognized by doctors as a risk for coronary arterial disease and stroke. In a recent study, researchers found that after six months, mice infected with four different types of bacteria known to cause gum disease experienced high cholesterol levels and increased inflammation, which both happen to be linked to cardiovascular disease. Researchers also noted that these bacteria had traveled from the mouth to the kidneys, liver and lungs.
Since diabetes reduces resistance to infection, gum disease is more frequent and more severe in those with diabetes. Research also shows that those who have gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels. The good news is that this same research also shows that regular dental care can improve your control over this disease.
Studies show that gum disease could cause an infection in the lungs, including pneumonia. If you think about it, the connection is fairly straightforward; breathing in bacteria from infected gums or infected teeth over a period of time can’t lead to anything good.
People with gum disease may be at greater risk of developing dementia. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through a number of everyday activities including chewing and brushing. Once these bacteria are in the bloodstream, they can be carried to other parts of the body, including the brain.
Researchers hypothesize that when bacteria does reach the brain, they might trigger an immune system response, which kills brain cells. This immune response could lead to changes in the brain, which is typical in Alzheimer’s disease. The immune response could play a role in causing symptoms like confusion and deteriorating memory.
Pregnancy and Birth
For a long period of time, doctors have recognized the placenta as an efficient line of defense to protect your fetus from the elements. But it isn’t an impenetrable barrier. For example, alcohol and tobacco can travel through it and cause low birth weight, illness and even birth defects.
It has been long known that risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse contribute to an increased risk of a low birth weight and may cause other health problems. But recent studies provide evidence that gum disease might also be a significant risk factor for low birth weight. In fact, the study shows that nearly 19 percent of all low birth weight cases may be attributed to gum disease.
To better manage your overall health, it makes perfect sense to protect your oral health. And to protect your oral health you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, eat healthy foods and visit your dentist on a regular basis for oral cleanings and checkups.