Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

Numerous studies demonstrate the link between the health of your mouth and your overall health. If your gums bleed when you brush, you run an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

While harmless bacteria exist naturally in your mouth, improper and/or inconsistent care of your mouth, teeth, and gum tissue cause an overgrowth of bacteria. This overgrowth leads to periodontal disease, a condition of the gum tissue and bone in the mouth. It is NOT normal for your gums to bleed when you brush. Bleeding indicates that your gum tissue is unhealthy. Bacteria from unhealthy gums enter the bloodstream in a process called bacteremia, which can trigger inflammation and infection in other parts of your body. Your liver responds to inflammation by producing and releasing C-reactive protein (CRP) into your bloodstream, thereby increasing your atherosclerotic risk of cardiovascular disease.

The most recent study on periodontal disease, published in the January 2019 issue of “Science Advances,” linked gum disease to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. The study cited evidence that P. gingivalis bacteria, which cause gum disease, also produce an enzyme that destroys neurons in the brain, leading to memory loss.

Additional studies have demonstrated the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes, osteoporosis, and susceptibility to HIV/AIDS. Further studies link unhealthy gum tissue during pregnancy to premature birth/low birth weight in infants. The effects are myriad and alarming.

The great news is that gum disease can be prevented! At Complete Health Dentistry, the office of Dr. Ann N. Hebda, DDS, we focus on prevention. We help our patients become and stay healthy through regular dental cleanings and exams, as well as counseling patients in the proper and routine home care of their mouths. That includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush. We recommend using an electric toothbrush because of its superior cleaning ability. Floss every day. To help make this a habit, place a piece of dental floss next to your toothbrush for easy access and a reminder to floss. We also recommend rinsing with a fluoridated mouth rinse to strengthen your teeth. Finally, schedule a dental cleaning and exam twice a year. At Complete Health Dentistry, we work with all our patients in a gentle, caring manner, to educate, coach, and support their Complete Dental Health.

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