Many may assume dental and bodily health to be separate, or, if anything, loosely related entities. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that one’s oral health is indicative of their systematic health. There are causal links between chronic oral inflammation and other serious chronic diseases. These systemic conditions include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and osteoporosis. Improved treatment of dental issues and inflammation could have a major positive impact on the severity and prevalence of these systemic diseases in the population.
Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammation In The Mouth
Atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), which leads to strokes and heart attacks, is due to a multitude of factors. Chronic infection and inflammation have become an increasingly clear risk factor in these conditions. Periodontal disease affects inflammation, microflora levels, and the immune system. Some of these bacteria may lead to clogged arteries, which lead to cardiovascular disease. The infection may also stimulate the liver to produce proteins that deposit on injured blood vessels, which further clogs arteries. Cardiovascular disease is a major health concern for the United States, and with improved dental health, the dangers posed by this disease could be reduced.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Inflammation In The Mouth
Chronic inflammation, such as that seen with dental disease, could be linked to insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes. When periodontal infection occurs in someone with diabetes, the complications of this disease are exaggerated. Potential complications include retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, coronary artery disease, and vascular disease. There is a higher level of periodontal disease in Type 2 Diabetic patients; they are interrelated and can exacerbate one another, resulting in an increased risk.
Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Inflammation In The Mouth
There is growing evidence that chronic bacterial infections can lead to preterm delivery or low-birth-weight infants. Bacteria, such as those seen in those with dental inflammation, can be a significant factor in the health of one’s pregnancy and birthing process. Because periodontal disease is treatable, and because many women experience pregnancy gingivitis, it is important that we provide pregnant women with better dental and periodontal care in order to prevent these difficulties.
Osteoporosis and Inflammation In The Mouth
Both osteoporosis and periodontal disease lead to bone loss. Periodontal infection may trigger activation of factors that lead to osteoporosis, as these bacteria are highly transient. A better understanding of how both osteoporosis and periodontal disease occur will help dentists and medical doctors alike to better treat bone loss.
Dental inflammation is a risk for many systemic issues and other diseases. Additionally, those who experience tooth loss or pain may avoid nutritious foods and instead opt for high-calorie and high-fat choices. Such a change in eating habits can lead to additional health issues and exacerbate each of those listed above.
Kenneth M. Burson, DDS is committed to ensuring that his patients are healthy, comfortable, and happy. Maintaining one’s dental health is crucial. Early detection and prompt treatment of dental issues are great ways to promote your overall health. Schedule an appointment today to take a step in the direction of improving your overall health and longevity!