You’ve probably heard it said before: “The mouth is the gateway to your body.” Today’s research shows that it’s true. In fact, it’s almost scary to learn how many underlying medical conditions can be directly affected by our dental health.
Here are a few examples of oral-systemic relationships seen in clinical studies:
Diabetes — It’s almost impossible to manage blood sugar levels if there is an uncontrolled periodontal infection at the same time. Even medication and diet changes can be ineffective. But treating gum disease is proven — time after time — to make it easier for diabetics to regain control over glucose levels. Studies show that therapeutic gum treatments make traditional diabetes management more successful.
Reproductive Problems — Studies show that both men and women with gum disease have a more challenging time managing (and increased susceptibility to) issues like infertility, difficulty conceiving, erectile dysfunction, and preterm labor. In contrast, treating their periodontal infection almost always correlates with an improvement in their reproductive health. Within a matter of a few months of the partner with gum disease receiving treatment, couples have seen improved success in conceiving and managing problems like ED.
Cardiovascular Disease — Stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attacks have all been linked with gum disease. When such dental infections exist, the oral biofilm can pass directly into the cardiovascular system, with the potential to lodge itself within the walls of blood vessels. The body’s inflammatory response against periodontal disease also strains the overall immune system, making it more difficult for our bodies to manage cardiovascular health.
Pneumonia and Respiratory Disease — Inhaled oral biofilm can lodge within the airway and lungs. In seniors or immunocompromised individuals, such situations are prime facilitators for developing respiratory illness. If you have a loved one who is getting older or living in a residential facility, it’s important to ensure they receive proper dental care to lower their risk of a life-threatening infection.
Those Aren’t the Only Ones
As more research is conducted, scientists are discovering a strong link between oral health and other medical diagnosis. For example, Alzheimer’s disease is now thought to have some association with severe periodontal disease. The more we learn about the body’s immune system, the more obvious it becomes that active oral infections lead to a strain on our overall health.
Taking control over plaque biofilm levels and gum disease is a proactive step toward enjoying healthier and happier lives. But if you have existing gum disease, you’ll need to do more than just floss every day.
When You Can’t Do It On Your Own
As your periodontist in The Woodlands and Conroe, Dr. Saunders understands the delicate relationship between your oral and systemic health. If you’re struggling with a medical condition that you simply cannot seem to get under control, perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.
If you have symptoms of moderate to severe gum disease, we encourage you to schedule an evaluation with our Periodontist in The Woodlands to find out if we can help you enjoy a healthier smile — and happier life!