Family Health, News, Your Health tlong05 | 8 years ago

What's the Connection Between Good Oral Health and Good General Health?

Compromised oral health has been associated with health risks such heart disease, stroke and respiratory infection. Although the results of these studies are incomplete, it’s clear that people who have poor oral hygiene consequently have chronic low-grade oral infections. This puts some people at a higher risk for infections of the heart. Researchers believe that bacteria in the mouth cause a general inflammatory response in the body, which results from mouth bacteria regularly entering the blood stream. While this isn’t a major concern for most people, it can pose a serious health threat for others.

The 'Silent' Disease

Periodontal disease (disease of the gums) is often silent—patients aren’t always aware of the problem until the disease is at an advanced stage. Warning signs include:
  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other mouth pain
  • Gums that bleed when brushing, flossing or eating hard foods
  • Gums that have receded, causing teeth to look longer than before
  • Teeth that are loose or separating
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit when you bite or a change in the fit of partial dentures
If left untreated, periodontal disease results in the loss of teeth, which can lead to a nutrient-poor diet. For those who’ve lost all of their teeth, evidence shows that replacing teeth with dentures doesn’t completely resolve nutritional deficiencies. Maintaining good nutrition helps prevent the development of disease and promotes healing.

A New Perspective

Conditions such as anemia, heart disease, diabetes and obesity are also affected by diet. Today, physicians and dentists are paying greater attention to the proper diagnosis and treatment of oral disease. For example, swollen, bleeding gums were once so common they were considered to be “normal” or “healthy.” Current standards are much different, and normal now means no bleeding or swollen gums. New methods have been developed to assess and control these long-term problems. If you think you may have periodontal disease or another serious oral condition, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. It just may help your overall health.