Good oral health is often undervalued as a key aspect of one’s overall health. Yet medical studies continue to prove the link between oral disease and other adverse health conditions and diseases. Good oral hygiene and proactive care can go a long way in preventing disease that could have a negative impact on overall health.
One example is periodontal disease.
Recent research suggests that periodontal, or gum, disease in the United States is more prevalent than previously estimated – by as much as 50 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection and inflammatory disease that affects gum tissue and bone structure supporting the teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It is caused by bacteria, and can be influenced by genetics, smoking, certain medications, stress and other factors.
Several studies have linked gum disease to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes and arthritis. It is also associated with the risk for stroke, adverse pregnancy conditions such as high blood pressure, low birth weight and pre-term birth.
Early detection is critical to good clinical outcomes, as gum disease, if left untreated, can require surgery in order to save the teeth. When treated, inflammation in the rest of the body can be greatly reduced.
At least once every year, adults 25 and older should have a full periodontal evaluation conducted by a dental professional. The exam involves the use of a probe to gently measure the area between the tooth and the gum, checking for bleeding points and areas of bone loss.
Tooth loss is bad enough, but with the added evidence of the link between gum disease and adverse health risks, it becomes even more important to make sure oral health is given as much priority as the health of the rest of the body.
For more information on oral hygiene, visit www.towncaredental.com.