How does the health of your mouth affect the health of the rest of your body? Studies show a possible link between chronic inflammation in your mouth and heart disease, heart attack, and other diseases like stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Inflammation occurs whenever gum disease is present and studies show that up to 75% of adults are affected. There are usually no symptoms, which is why so many people do not know that inflammation is silently damaging their health.
The mouth is home to millions of bacteria trying to invade the gum tissues all the time. When these bugs manage to penetrate the gum tissue, the immune system goes on the attack and this is when inflammation occurs. If the problems aren’t corrected, the immune system can never shut off. This creates a condition where low grade, chronic inflammation is always present, which is believed to cause damage throughout the body and increases the risk for disease.
To be healthy you must minimize inflammation and here is how to do that:
– Remove the bugs. Minimizing the number of bacteria in your mouth through proper oral hygiene procedures is critical.
– Don’t feed the bugs. The more bad stuff you eat (sugar, soda, candy, junk food, etc), the more the bacteria multiply.
– Eliminate the places where the bugs can hide. Defective fillings or crowns, decay, or cracks in the teeth provide hiding places where the bad bugs live undisturbed and there is nothing you can do to get them out. This is how a damaged tooth left untreated could be damaging your heart.
– Have gum disease treated aggressively to remove bacteria and tartar from under the gums and eliminate gum pockets.
– Live a healthy lifestyle. Poor nutrition, stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, smoking, and chewing tobacco can weaken your gum tissues and your immune system, making it easier for the bad bugs to invade.
We here at Dentistry by Design understand that gum disease and inflammation are serious health risks, and we stand committed not just to your dental health, but to your overall health as well.
Article by Dr. Michael Pierquet
(Dentist at Dentistry by Design Sister Bay)