The only time and place you have regular oral health examinations is during general dental appointments. Mouth infections can have adverse effects on other body parts. Systemic Diseases of the entire body may also first appear as mouth problems. A healthy mouth is important to your quality of life.
Q: How can the condition of your mouth affect the overall health of the body?
A: Bacteria from tooth decay and gum disease infections enter your bloodstream. Researchers link this bacteremia and chronic inflammation to other health conditions. Some progression of periodontal (gum) disease is present in 70% of adults. Periodontitis the more serious and destructive form of the disease is present in nearly one out of four, 30-54 year olds. Links exist between Periodontitis and heart disease and strokes. Increased risks exist to those with untreated gum disease and diabetes, respiratory tract diseases or osteoporosis.
Q: What conditions appear as oral problems or mouth lesions?
A: Oral inspection tells the dentist a lot about your general health. This examination should include an oral cancer and blood pressure screening. Your dentist may be the first to notice conditions such as oral cancer, diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, vitamin defiencies, early Osteoporosis or HIV infection. Oral exams also show the effects of nutritional status, drug use, domestic physical abuse, harmful habits and help determine the causes of illness.
Q: What are Periodontitis and Periodontal Disease?
A: Periodontal disease is a biofilm infection of the tissues that surround teeth. It is caused by the accumulation of bacteria (long term plaque). It’s invasive and progressive, causing the structures that support teeth to break down (gums, jaw bone and attachment to the roots). As gums are damaged, pockets develop around the teeth. Untreated, more gum is destroyed and infection spreads down the roots to infect bone. Even healthy teeth become loose, fall out or need to be extracted. Periodontitis is the primary cause of adults losing their teeth.
Gingivitis is the milder and reversible form of periodontal disease. No bone loss, yet.
Q: How can I avoid and prevent the start of Periodontal Disease?
A: You need to maintain good oral health
Practice good oral hygiene, brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily
Throw your toothbrush away and replace every 3-4 months
Eat a well balanced diet, limit snacks
Have a healthy immune system
Avoid smoking and smokeless tobacco products
Schedule regular dental visits for check-up exams, cleanings and x-rays
Remember the health of your mouth affects your whole body. Take the time to see your dentist as a part of your wellness program and an investment in your overall health.