Healthy Smiles Dental explains how taking care of your smile and oral health can contribute to improved overall health for you
Dr. Matthew Kingston, the dentist at Healthy Smiles Dental, is concerned about your overall health, too. Specifically he is concerned about how the health of your teeth and gums affects your systemic health. And this is for good reason. Research shows that your dentist may be one of the most important health care providers you see on a regular basis.
A lot has been written over the past several years about the connection between the health of your gums and your heart. Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease (gum disease) are at up to a 70% higher risk to develop heart disease. If you have gum disease you are 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack than someone with healthy gums.
But the systemic effects of gum disease don't stop in your heart. Numerous types of cancers are now being linked to periodontal disease. The statistics are somewhat startling. Periodontal disease creates a:
- 63%-126% greater risk of pancreatic cancer (especially in men)
- 49% greater risk of kidney cancer
- 30% greater risk of blood cancers, such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- 36% higher risk of lung cancer
- Five (5) times greater risk of tongue cancer
Gum disease also has an effect on other systems of our body, including:
- PREGNANCY. Pregnant women with gum disease have a 79% increase in pre-term labor, premature birth and low-birth-weight babies.
- ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. Periodontal disease early in life is now indicated as a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
- DIABETES. Diabetic individuals are three (3) times more likely to develop gum disease AND the gum disease is likely to be more severe.
- STROKE. Periodontal bacteria have been found in the blood clots that cause strokes. Those with periodontal disease are more likely to have a stroke.
But there is good news! Periodontal disease is easy to diagnose and, in most cases, can be treated and controlled. At Healthy Smiles Dental, each patient receives a comprehensive exam that evaluates both the teeth and gums. Digital X-rays are taken to evaluate the health of teeth and supporting jaw bone structure. We check all the oral tissues for health and perform a complimentary oral cancer screening. If we diagnose areas of gum disease, we create a proactive plan of treatment. And most treatment can be done right in our office without surgery.
Symptoms of gum disease can include bleeding gums when you brush or floss, a foul taste or smell, pain or soreness in the gum tissue, and gingival recession. However, the best way to diagnose periodontal disease is by seeing a dentist.