Archive for July 2013

Mounting scientific evidence linking a bacterial pathway from the mouth to vital organs and body systems has physicians and dentists warning higher risk patients to ‘get their mouths cleaned up’.  

Gum Disease and Heart Disease
The American Heart Association claims that patients with poor oral hygiene resulting in chronic gum infections (or chronic bronchitis) have more than twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke than people without gum disease, as well as an increased risk of respiratory disease.

These claims are consistent with earlier reports  of a link between chronic infections and atherosclerosis (or thickening of the arteries).  Evidence is mounting that bacteria that cause periodontal disease may cause deposit of ‘plaques’ onto the inner lining of blood vessels.  These thickened areas on the inner walls of arteries cause further small blood clots to form that can contribute to clogged arteries and build up of fatty deposits within the heart arteries.

Gum Disease and Diabetes
Aside from an increased risk of stoke or hearth attack, chronic gum disease has also been interrelated with diabetes.  All the tell tales signs of chronic gum disease (increased bleeding of gums, bone loss around teeth, and increased pocketing around the teeth) may also be an indicator of the early signs of diabetes.  On the flip side, one of the related problems of diabetes is gum disease.  Uncontrolled or high levels of blood sugar can be damaging to the teeth and gums.  As a result, diabetic patients require more frequent professional care to make sure that their oral hygiene is maintained.  Increased frequency of dental visits and better home care are very important for diabetics.

Gum Disease and Low Birthweight Babies
Gum disease has now been shown to be a clinically significant risk factor for having premature or low birthweight babies. Mothers with periodontal disease may be at a 7 times greater risk for having a premature or low birthweight baby.  

Gum Disease and Smoking
Smoking and periodontal disease are linked as well. Smoking reduces the blood supply to the surrounding bone of the tooth. The intense heat and toxins produced during smoking can also affect the bacterial composition of the mouth and the body's immune response to periodontal bacteria. Smoking reduces the effect of periodontal therapy regardless of the level of oral hygiene.

Bottom line: Brush and floss. It could save your life! 

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St. Laurent Dental Centre 1200 St. Laurent Boulevard, Ottawa , Ontario, K1K 3B8, Canada (613) 744-6611