Good dental hygiene is necessary to prevent periodontal disease, which can destroy bone and gums in the mouth and ultimately lead to tooth loss. But, did you know that periodontal (gum) disease is also linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity? The mouth is often overlooked as a door to the rest of your body. Thus, any ailments in your mouth can affect the rest of your body and vice versa.
A study done by the National Institutes of Craniofacial and Dental Research demonstrated that those with type 2 diabetes are more likely to also have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been an established side effect of diabetes, but it now seems like there is a two-way connection. Periodontal disease leads to inflammation in the mouth and those inflammatory proteins can travel to the body. Consequently, chronic inflammation in the body can be harmful and affect blood sugar levels and the way your body responds to insulin. Many researchers also believe that there is a three-way connection between periodontal disease, diabetes, and obesity.
There is also a suspected connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. A study from the American Heart Journal in 2007 showed that the incidence of coronary heart disease was increased in patients with periodontal disease. Researchers suspect that the inflammatory molecules present in the mouth spread to the rest of the body, which leads to inflammation and the build up of fatty plaques in the arteries. Researchers also believe that oral bacteria can travel to the body and increase the chances of blood clots in the arteries.
Many researchers are currently studying the link between periodontal disease and various systemic problems. For example, researchers are trying to establish why women with gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely. Overall, it is important to remember that the mouth is connected to the rest of the body and taking care of your teeth is very important for your overall health. Good dental hygiene at home as well as regular dental visits are necessary for maintaining a healthy smile. Are you due for a cleaning or check up? Do you have any concerns or questions? Call Dr. Sid Solomon at (310)475-5598 to make an appointment today!