Recent research is beginning to establish some fascinating connections between your oral health and diseases that affect your entire body. Below we’ve listed just a few of the mouth-body connections that are being studied today.
Diabetes. It’s fairly well-established that periodontitis (gum disease) can complicate diabetes by making it harder to keep blood sugar under control. The inflammation that comes with periodontitis actually impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin—the key hormone that converts sugar into energy.
Heart Disease. Gum disease has also been linked to the development of heart disease. Up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease also had periodontitis. Though the two share several risk factors, it’s also suspected that periodontitis raises your risk for heart disease on its own by causing inflammation in the blood vessels. The inflamed vessels can lead to heart attack, high blood pressure and even stroke.
Pregnancy. In general, infection and inflammation tend to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb. While men struggle the most with periodontitis, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of developing gum disease. The inflammation associated with periodontitis could lead to a variety of pregnancy complications.
Osteoporosis. Gum disease may also be linked to osteoporosis, which causes bone loss in the arms and legs. Though the link has not been well established, it is thought that inflammation triggered by periodontitis could weaken bone in other parts of the body.
So what does all this mean for you? The bottom line for patients is that preventing gum disease and tooth decay isn’t just a dental issue anymore—it’s tantamount to taking care of your overall health. If you would like to schedule a dental exam with Dr. Bossé, contact Greenspoint Dental today.