No Joke… Ignoring Your Teeth Could Kill You
The Red Flags of Periodontal Disease
Blood on your toothbrush after brushing
Gums bleeding after flossing
Painful, inflamed or puffy gum tissue
Wobbly and/or loose teeth
Gums receding around the teeth
Chronic sour breath (halitosis)
Pus or white film between the teeth
Discomfort when biting down or chewing
A change in how your teeth come together
Recently developed spaces between teeth
Food “packing” into your gums
Gum disease, or more accurately, periodontal disease, is an insidious infection associated with more than 500 varieties of microscopic organisms in your mouth that are known to also infect your body’s vital organs.
The latest results show, more than 60 million Americans have symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, a chronic bacterial infection that breaks down gum tissue and even the bone that anchors the teeth. As periodontal disease progresses, waste products from the bacteria slowly destroy the gum tissue. Eventually, the bacteria break through and enter your bloodstream. These circulating bacteria cause an inflammatory response in vulnerable areas of the body. For “at risk” patients, this new assault could have a cumulative effect on their pre-existing medical conditions.
In addition to gum disease’s unwelcome effect on your body’s internal systems, it has also been found to compromise any treatment regimen you are receiving for a medical condition.
Dentists Are Now Advise Saying, “Ahhh” To Stop Heart Disease
When you visit Riley York Dentistry’s hygienists to help prevent periodontal disease, you are decreasing your chances for developing heart attack and heart failure.
The way that gum disease affects your circulatory system is that periodontal disease launches a chain of chemical events that encourage inflammation, or swelling, in the body’s vital systems. Should the heart and arteries become swollen, it can cause blood clots, putting you at danger for heart attack or stroke. Plus, bacteria originating from the mouth can also adhere to the lining inside the heart, which may cause infective endocarditis.
Over the last ten years, a number of studies have found that there is a definite association between periodontal disease and coronary heart disease. One result of unchecked periodontal disease is the loss of teeth. After the gums have been diseased long-term, your teeth usually start falling out.
Researchers in Finland decided to look for an association between the number of missing teeth in a person and the rate of diagnosed heart disease in the group. They looked at almost 1500 men between the ages of 45 and 64. The researchers discovered that those men with a higher number of missing teeth from chronic periodontal disease also had a greater likelihood of having heart disease. Their conclusions? Gum disease has been found to increase the risk of heart attack by as much as 25 percent. It increases the risk of having a stroke by 1000%.
Diabetes Encouraged By Periodontal Disease
Chronic viral and bacterial diseases result in an increase in the human body’s ability to withstand insulin, which disrupts blood sugar control. If you are a diabetic, further infection exacerbates insulin resistance and significantly worsens their ability to keep their blood sugar regulated. Periodontal disease and diabetes are intertwined in cause and effect. Every diabetic ought to have a thorough oral health examination. On the other hand, the same advice goes to those with periodontal disease. If you have periodontitis, you need to keep a sharp lookout for diabetes.
Did you know:
• The American Diabetes Association avows that periodontitis causes diabetes.
• Chemicals from gum disease that cause inflammation invade the bloodstream and increase insulin resistance.
• Adults with periodontal disease are 2 times more likely to have insulin resistance.
• Type II diabetics have a 7 times greater mortality rate when they have severe periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease Get’s Into Your Lungs
Oral bacteria occupying your inflamed gums can also get into the saliva. When you breathe, your breath gathers little droplets of saliva to keep your lungs moist. To see this for yourself, hold a small makeup mirror close to your lips and then lightly breathe on it. You’ll see a fog develop on the mirror. Those same little droplets are are pulled into your lungs where they land carrying their ugly cargo of bacteria.
Here is where the little critters can set up camp to bring on swelling and inflammation which can lead to the next bout with lung disease including pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Add to that the fact that, if the individual is are currently ill with any of these diseases, the bacteria from your gums can sabotage the effectiveness of any medication you’re taking.
What This All Means To Dentists
Previously, dentists strived to save your teeth with regular cleanings. Today, we have to expand our focus of care. If you have an inflammatory condition like periodontal disease, you’re in danger of developing more serious systemic problems, whether it’s heart problems, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. Today, as we manage the health of your teeth, not only do we save your teeth, which in itself is a sound outcome, we could also be protecting your life as well.
Dr. Riley or Dr. York concludes, “It’s not enough anymore to just attend to suspicious spots in the gum tissue. Instead, attacking gum disease aggressively will be a top priority for maintaining, and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. In fact, it will mean that if our patients’ teeth and gums are not healthy, we can assume that they are not healthy overall.”