March 20th marks World Oral Health Day, and we’d like to focus on something that’s become an increasingly important area of research: the connection between dentistry and systemic health.
Indeed, your body’s systems are interconnected in myriad ways, so it makes sense that what happens in your mouth has an effect on your entire body — and vice versa.
What that means for you is that when we, your caring dentists, urge you to practice good oral hygiene and visit us for a professional cleaning and exam every six months, we are doing this for more than the sake of your teeth and gums. We are doing it for the benefit of your health overall.
If you are due for a dental checkup, call the professionals at Davenport Dental Group to schedule an appointment. We have two locations in Laredo, TX — call the one that is most convenient for you. Dial Junction Drive at 956-242-6745 or Winfield at 956-517-2695.
Gum Disease Is Bad News for Your Body
When bacteria, plaque, and tartar build up in your mouth around and underneath the gumline, they may cause your gums to become red, swollen, and inflammed — and so periodontal disease begins to take hold in your mouth.
Left untreated, your gum disease will progress, and bacteria may travel from your mouth to other parts of your body.
When bacteria from your mouth travel to the blood vessels of the heart, they may cause them to become inflamed and damaged. Your blood vessels to your brain may also thicken, cutting off blood flow and putting you at risk for a stroke. If you have existing heart disease, periodontal disease may make it worse.
It’s well known that diabetes and periodontal disease are linked. It appears that the association goes both ways. Diabetes is a top risk factor for developing gum disease, likely because diabetics are highly vulnerable to bacterial infections as a whole. But research shows that periodontal disease makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar. This puts them at an increased risk for developing complications from their diabetes.
Some research has suggested that people with gum disease are more likely than other people to suffer memory problems and dementia later in life.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints, amongst other symptoms. Research has demonstrated that people with RA are more likely to have periodontal diseases and missing teeth than people without the disorder.
Research in this area is ongoing, but studies have shown that periodontal disease may be connected with an increased likelihood of developing several different cancers: pancreatic, kidney, blood, esophageal, lung, gallbladder, melanoma, and breast.
All of this may sound scary, but the good news is that with good oral hygiene at home and regular dental visits, you can stave off periodontal disease and its harmful effects.
To learn more about dentistry and systemic health — and book an appointment for gum disease treatment or any of our dental services — contact Davenport Dental Group of Laredo, TX. We have two convenient offices: Junction Drive (956-242-6745) and Winfield (956-517-2695). You may also request an appointment online.