World Oral Health Day is March 20, and the theme of this year’s event is Smile for Life. Did you know that the health of your smile affects the rest of your health?
Cavities and gum disease are caused by the bacteria that live in tooth plaque. Just one unbrushed tooth can host 500 million bacteria, according to Web MD.
A severe form of gum disease (periodontitis) causes inflammation in the gums and can lead to tooth loss. Scientific research also suggests connections between oral health problems and other medical conditions, including:
• Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart caused by bacteria from other parts of the body, including mouth bacteria. This medical condition is a risk for people who already have experienced heart problems.
• Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke, which may be related to the inflammation caused by gum disease. People with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (heart disease) according to the American Academy of Periodontology. What’s more, bacteria from the mouth can travel into the bloodstream, and have been found on the artery plaques that can cause heart attack and stroke.
• Diabetes, which causes people to be more at risk for gum disease. Severe gum disease can also make blood sugar levels higher, and worsen diabetes symptoms.
• Osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) and gum disease are high-risk problems for many women after menopause. Both problems are connected with changes to hormone levels, according to studies by the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. Osteoporosis can also cause the jaw bone to thin and cause tooth loss.
During your appointment at Whitmore Dental, we check for the warning signs of gum disease and other oral health problems. We work with our patients to treat, reverse and prevent these conditions.
When our patients experience health issues such as diabetes, osteoporosis or heart disease, we work closely with them to support the best possible dental health. Our use of innovative technology can also help patients who experience bone loss and tooth loss in the jaw, so they can take advantage of options like dental implants.
Regular dental cleanings and your own care at home can help keep your teeth – and the rest of you – healthier and happier. This previous post gives suggestions for simple steps that make a world of difference for your teeth and for you!
To schedule a wellness visit, contact Janet at 877-779-4486.