• Recent research reveals strong links between oral health and general health. Good oral hygiene – controlling bacterial plaque and preventing periodontal or gum disease inflammation and infection – is an essential part of maintaining good overall health.
Put simply, keeping your mouth happy and healthy will help to keep your whole body smiling.
• Chronic periodontal disease is a risk to the heart and circulatory system, increasing the chance of heart attack and stroke. While oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through bleeding sites in the mouth and spread throughout the body, a greater risk comes from the increased levels of inflammation from untreated gum disease.
• Chronic periodontal disease is also a risk for people with diabetes as it can worsen blood glucose control and place them at risk for diabteic complications.
• Osteoporosis can result in decreased jawbone density and tooth loss. Chronic periodontal disease is another risk factor for patients with osteoporosis as the breakdown of bone and ligaments caused by untreated gum disease further increases the problem.
• Chronic periodontal disease is a risk during pregnancy, being linked with preterm, low-weight births. Some studies show that pregnant women with untreated gum disease are 4.28 times more likely to have preterm, low birthweight babies.
• It is also associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. This is particularly a risk for the elderly or infirm in care units, hospitals and nursing homes.
• There may be connections to other medical conditions such as obesity, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis but more work is needed to understand the interactions.
Stay healthy and keep smiling!