It’s your health, your time and your money
“It seems clear that gum disease, far from being just an oral health problem, actually represents a significant health risk to millions of people.”
Robert Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D., Editor-in-chief, Journal of Periodontology.
According to the American heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of all ethnic groups. Smoking, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol levels are well-known risk factors for heart disease.
However, research is shedding more light on the strong link between gum and bone disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe that inflammation caused by mouth disease contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries. Moreover, there seems to be a connection between chronic inflammation of the gums and inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body.
The Mouth-Body Connection
We tend to think that the dentist’s only function is to help keep our teeth and gums healthy, which really means we think the teeth and gums are not connected to the body. This dangerous and unhealthy view of overall health is created and sustained by medical and dental training.
The outcome of our training is “I am dentist and work on teeth and you are a real doctor that takes care of the body and never the twain shall meet.” Unfortunately, the public and the media accept this division.
Ask your Doctor and Dentist
The heart and gum disease relationship is not the only communication void between dentists, physicians and patients.
- Gum disease in expectant moms increases the chance of premature birth.
- Diabetics with gum disease have a harder time regulating their blood sugar
- Diabetes makes gum disease worse
- Blood pressure and other medications can dry the mouth with devastating results, even crowned teeth can decay in a matter of months.
- Patients taking Fosamax or Fosamax-type drugs (bisphosphonates), can have very serious problems called osteonecrosis after extractions.
If you have any of the conditions above, remember to ask your doctor and dentist about them. Remember, it is your health, your time and your money. And when you start asking, doctors and dentists will start talking to each other – something that should have happened a long time ago.