For the most part, people visit a trusty Kirkland dentist like Dr. Louis K. Cheung, DDS to get beautiful, healthy teeth—a set worthy of a thousand pictures. As it turns out, however, dental visits aren’t all about appearance.
According to Dr. Richard Price, spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA), an unhealthy mouth literally equates to an unhealthy physique. He made these claims in light of various studies, which have identified links between oral health and nefarious diseases like oral cancer as well as heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problematic pregnancies.
How is this so? Dr. Donald Ratcliffe, chairman of the Staten Island University Hospital’s dental medicine department, weighs in. He states that the mouth is essentially a portal to the rest of the body and claims that research has identified relationships between the bacteria—and the inflammation they cause in the mouth—to various other diseases in the body.
Take cardiovascular diseases, for instance. Several studies have shown that gum inflammation increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, since the condition is known to spread the inflammation throughout the body. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why, but they theorize that the harmful bacteria in the mouth find their way into the blood stream and attach themselves to the fatty clots in the heart’s blood vessels, thus increasing the risk of fatal heart attacks.
Next, premature birth. A study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has identified a connection between using non-alcohol mouth rinse in pregnant women and premature delivery. After analyzing 226 women with periodontal disease, the researchers have found out that participants who rinsed twice daily with the mouthwash were less likely to deliver babies early.
Another is diabetes. About 95% of American adults with diabetes are also suffering from periodontal disease, with a third of them having already lost a tooth due to an advanced form of the condition. While this may be due to diabetics being more susceptible to infections, research has shown that gum disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. The purported connection goes like this: diabetes can impair blood flow, which in turn weakens the gums and makes them more vulnerable to infection.
Lastly, dementia risks have also been linked to poor oral health. Tooth loss due to sub-par dental health is considered a risk factor for early onset Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia which occurs in people younger than 65 years old. So if you think that skilled Kirkland dentists exist only for aesthetic purposes, think again. As it turns out, your mouth says a lot about your overall health as well.
(Source: Oral Hygiene And Your Overall Health, EveryDayHealth.com)