Gum disease affects your heart...and more! June 15, 2009, 4:58 p.m.
IT’S JUST A CLEANING . . . Many people have uttered or thought those very words at one time or another. For many of us, our prime motivation to get our teeth cleaned is to get the Starbucks stains off and make the backside of our lower front teeth smooth again!
However, recent medical research keeps uncovering more and more connections between the health of your mouth and your overall health.
According to the Surgeon General, over 75 percent of American’s have some form of gum disease. Sadly, most of the general public, and even some dental offices, think it’s normal for gums to bleed when brushed. It may be common, but it is not normal. If you saw blood on your towel every time you washed your hands, you likely would go see your doctor. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that chronic gum inflammation causes the liver to produce C-reactive protein This type of protein is a better indicator of future heart attack and stroke than cholesterol levels!
Did you know that diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease? If uncontrolled, it can cause their mortality rate to rise by a factor of 7 ½ times. There’s more - - - USC researchers have reported that gum disease inflammation can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by four times the normal rate. Harvard researchers have reported that patients with gum disease have a 64 percent greater chance of developing pancreatic cancer! Pregnant women with high bacteria levels in their mouths are at high risk for delivering pre-term low-weight babies. Finally, we have always known that untreated dental infections can spread to other parts of the body, including heart valves and even your brain. Scary!
The good news? Regular cleanings and an exam allow us to evaluate your periodontal condition. We have the training and technology to get gum disease under control the majority of the time without a referral for periodontal surgery. Dental evaluation and treatment is now proven to literally save lives. Just a cleaning? Hardly. If it’s been a while since your last visit, give us a call today. Your health depends on it. As a bonus, you’ll leave with a brighter smile too!