Good oral care is more important than many may think
According to reports, approximately 75% of all American adults have signs of periodontal (gum) disease. Nearly 30% exhibit signs of periodontitis, the severe form of the disease. There is reason to believe that oral health may have a significant impact on overall health. Recently, scientists have released literature suggesting a prevalent association between periodontal disease and other major health concerns.
Studies have indicated three possible ways overall health may be affected by oral disease:
- First, the saliva contains the bacteria and inflammatory agents (cytokines) from the gums; micro-droplets of bacteria and cytokine-laden saliva can be inhaled into the lungs. This has the potential to cause lung inflammation and infection as well as pneumonia. This can be serious for those with impaired immune systems due to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), as well as seniors.
- Second, the bacteria can travel through the gums to the bloodstream to other major organs in the body. This can result in secondary infections and worsen existing diseases.
- Third, the inflammation from oral disease can trigger an inflammatory reaction by the body, aggravating other inflammation related conditions. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and orthopedic implant failure are only a few of the conditions that can be affected.
Studies are being conducted throughout the world to increase the understanding of how these underlying biological processes result in an oral systemic connection and the effects of oral health on overall health.
A growing partnership is developing between dentists and doctors as the connection between oral and overall health is clearly revealed. The dentist’s role in overall health is crucial, as signs of serious conditions, including eating disorders, diabetes, and cancer may first manifest in the mouth. Additionally, more doctors are screening their patients for oral disease and referring them to a dentist when appropriate. This dental and medical partnership can result in a new era of an overall improvement in the health, wellbeing, and longevity of patients.
Maintaining excellent oral care requires more than a good oral hygiene routine, at home. Regular dental visits that include a professional cleaning is crucial as well. Dr. Leo Arellano is noted in San Francisco for his elevated standards of excellence and patient-focused dentistry. A consultation with a dedicated dentist and skilled dental team can be scheduled at 3030 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA, or call 415-881-4343.