New Research on How Oral Health Problems are an Indicator of Diseaseby Dr. Lance R. Panarello
Recent discoveries in the field of dentistry have established concrete links between oral health problems and indicators of serious diseases. These new discoveries illuminate how essential it is to regularly see a dentist, and how seeing a dentist can actually save your life!
Our dentists here at Dental Health Care Associates want to share this new research, so you can make sure to maintain your bodily health by seeing your dentist regularly.
How Can Oral Health Be an Indicator of Disease?
Your oral health can be an indicator of disease because the early signs of serious illnesses often start in the mouth, tongue, teeth, and gums. Most of the time, patients will not feel or notice any signs of disease until it’s too late.
Different problems with all of these aspects of your teeth can be indicators of:
- Immune disorders
- Hormone imbalances
- Drug use
…and many others.
In addition, oral health problems can lead to serious illnesses. Some of the illnesses that oral health problems, specifically gum disease, can lead to include:
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Heart attacks
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy complications
Remember, just because your teeth are white does not mean that they are healthy. This is why it is drastically important to get regular checkups from a dentist in your area in order to make sure that your bodily health is in good condition.
Oral Inflammation and Bodily Inflammation
There is a strong correlation between inflammation in your mouth and inflammation in your body. It is now known that treating gum disease early can increase your circulation, reduce inflammation, and it can even reduce the need for insulin for people who have diabetes.
Diabetes is also a serious risk when it comes to your oral health. Essentially, gum diseases and other problems can cause diabetes, and these problems can be indicators of diabetes.
Your Oral Health and the Risk for Diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes can be indicated by your gum tissue. One of the key signs of diabetes is that, when evaluated, your gums have a glistening and shiny look in the places where they meet the teeth. Easy bleeding, as well as your gums’ tendency to pull away from the bone, can also be a sign of diabetes.
- One of the most frightening statistics is the fact that almost 6 million Americans have diabetes and don’t even know it! However, if one sees a dentist regularly, diabetes can be detected early.
- Periodontal disease puts people at risk for diabetes.
- In fact, according to a 2009 study from New York University, researchers found that 93% of persons who have periodontal disease are at risk for diabetes.
- Because diabetes hinders both blood vessel formation and bone growth, diabetes can complicate dental implant surgery.
With dental implants, the titanium tooth root is implanted directly into the bone. In order for the implant to take, your bone must fuse with the implant. If you have diabetes, your bone cannot properly fuse with your implant. This can lead to serious health risks, in addition to completely ineffective dental implants.
Oral Health as an Indicator of Drug Use and Bulimia
The condition of your oral health is a clear indicator of drug use, specifically the use of methamphetamines. The signs of methamphetamine use are often dubbed “meth mouth.” This is because methamphetamines simply rot away the surface of your teeth. In the early stages of meth use, this erosion may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but a dentist’s eye can tell!
Erosion of the tooth’s surface can also be an indicator of bulimia. This is because the stomach acid expelled in cases of bulimia significantly erodes the surfaces of your teeth.
Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease: A Direct Link
Periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are directly linked. Some of the ways that periodontal disease causes cardiovascular disease are:
- Periodontal disease causes blocked arteries.
- Inflammation in the gums due to periodontal disease raises levels of C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is thought to be a clear cause of heart disease.
- When you have periodontal disease, bacteria from the mouth can leak into the blood stream, causing numerous health problems
It’s important to remember that you can have periodontal disease even if you take great care of your teeth. This is because 50% of periodontal disease is caused by genetics.
Again, this indicates that you should see a quality periodontal disease dentist in order to determine whether you have this condition, even if your teeth seem to be in good condition.
Your Oral Health as an Indicator of HIV
Perhaps one of the most significant discoveries in recent years is that the condition of your oral health can be an indicator of HIV. In fact, HIV testing can be performed by a dentist because some of the first symptoms first manifest themselves in the mouth. These symptoms include fungal infections and lesions.
Dentists can do a simple mouth swab as an HIV test and get results in 20 minutes.
Just Because Your Teeth Are White Does Not Mean They Are Healthy!
Despite popular belief, a white smile does not mean a healthy smile. You can be cavity-free and still have inflamed and infected gums.
Some of the reasons why your teeth can be white, yet your gums can be diseased, is because your saliva can be protective of your tooth enamel. However, your brushing and flossing habits could be lax, and this is needed to keep your gum tissues healthy.
The Good News from Philadelphia Dentists
Yes, all of these facts are scary. However, the way to avoid these serious illnesses is to regularly see a dentist! All of the results are in, and it’s clear that seeing a dentist can be the difference between life and death.
If you know that you need to maintain your oral health, our compassionate Philadelphia dentists would love to help you avoid disease and maintain a healthy smile. Call Dental Health Care Associates today for a complimentary consultation at 484-498-2129.