Total Health: Beyond The Mouth
Your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body. It can show signs of systemic disease or infection before they are visible elsewhere.
We are trained to recognize these signs and administer testing that can identify disease or potential areas of concern. Regular dental visits will not only help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, but may help you prevent serious health conditions and maintain optimal overall well being.
Oral Health Affects Total Health
When gums become infected and inflamed from periodontal disease, bacteria in plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. The bacteria can then enter into blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Ongoing research suggests that periodontal disease may be linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Seventy-eight percent of the adult population has some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a serious inflammatory condition, caused by bacterial infection, that leads to destruction of the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. When fibers are destroyed, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When neglected, teeth can become loose and fall out. Although good oral care can help prevent periodontal disease, research shows that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to disease. Despite oral care habits, these people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease.
Thirty-six thousand new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. Although we perform a visual examination for oral cancer, occasionally there are lesions in the mouth that are not visible to the eye. Between visits to the dentist, perform self-checks and immediately report any sores or lesions that do not heal within 14 days to your dentist. Early detection of oral cancer saves lives.
Oral Cancer and HPV
HPV is common, sexual transmitted virus that has infected more than 20 million people in the United States, with approximately 6 million new cases each year. Many do not realize they are infected, since HPV often has no signs or symptoms. At least one strain of HPV is now linked To the development of oral cancer.
From fifty to seventy million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders like habitual snoring and sleep apnea. Although snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea, which occurs when the tongue falls back into the throat during sleep and blocks the airway. People suffering from sleep apnea can stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds or longer, hundreds of times a night. Untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness as well as an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and driving accidents.
Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease combined with other risk factors for heart disease, we may recommend you seek a medical evaluation. Periodontal disease can also aggravate existing heart conditions, so it is essential to get prompt treatment for periodontal disease.
Today we know that diabetes and periodontal disease are closely linked. Treating and managing one can help improve the condition of the other. Although diabetes have a high risk of developing periodontal disease, improving the periodontal condition can help improve management of the diabetes.
Ideal Oral Health Care
Daily brushing and flossing will help keep calculus formation to a minimum, but it won’t completely prevent it. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year is necessary to remove calculus from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed. Studies demonstrate that including flossing as part of your oral care routine can actually help reduce the amount of periodontal disease-causing bacteria found in the mouth, therefore contributing to healthy teeth and gums.
Oral Health Care During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are at a higher risk for periodontal disease due to hormone fluctuations. Because periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to preterm, low birth-weight babies, it is essential that you maintain optimal oral health care during pregnancy.