Showing posts with label gum Disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gum Disease. Show all posts

Importance of Dental Hygiene

Good dental health and overall health are linked. There is no two ways about it. If you have an unhealthy mouth, chances are your body is not healthy either. Why? Well, every part of the body is interconnected. So, when you think about your health, don't just think about blood, heart, lungs, etc. think about your oral health as well.

Dental hygiene affects your health in many ways. Poor dental hygiene often results in poor health, whereas good dental hygiene helps you stay on the road to good health. Let's look at some examples: Your mouth has tons of bacteria growing and living in it. This is fact, and can't be avoided, but it can be better controlled. However, these bacteria are only kept under control by daily hygiene practices. So, how does good dental hygiene's affect on control of bacteria affect your health? Well, as the plaque and tartar build up, and take over the mouth, they find their way into the blood stream. Your blood travels all throughout your body, so this can be detrimental to a person's overall health. When infections or bacteria in the mouth enter the blood stream, they can start to attack arteries. In fact, they often attack the heart. It has been shown through many studies that people with poor oral health, and those who practice poor dental hygiene are more at risk for heart disease, stroke, and heart attack than those who take good care of their mouth and practice impeccable dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene does not only affect your health, but if you are pregnant, the dental hygiene your practice can also affect the health of your unborn baby. It is very important for women in childbearing years to be vigilant about keeping good oral health. Many studies have shown that premature birth is often connected to the mother having gum disease. Good dental hygiene almost always eliminates gum disease, and thus greatly reduces your risks of having a baby prematurely. The infection and bacteria caused by poor oral hygiene will lead to gum disease and can end up affecting the development of an unborn child. Although women who are pregnant should not undergo all dental procedures, regular check-ups and cleanings should be maintained, and are important to the health of your fetus.
How else does dental hygiene affect your health? Well, on a more basic level, good oral health means less pain for you to suffer. Pain in your mouth is caused by tooth decay and gum irritation. If you brush and floss properly each day, your gums will be healthy and strong, you will maintain your teeth, and you will have far less decay that leads to cavities. In essence, if you maintain good oral and dental hygiene, you will not have to suffer the pain and stress of trips to the dentist's office.

Another way good dental hygiene and oral health are connected is in nutrition. Part of keeping a healthy mouth is eating right. Eating the right way means less cavities, it also means your body has the nutrients it needs to fight off infections and disease, including gum disease.

New research finds link between gum disease, acute heart

Heart attack survivors who suffer advanced gum disease show significantly higher levels of a protein in their blood called C-reactive protein (CRP) than such patients without gum disease, new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research indicates.

The findings, presented Sunday (Nov. 12) during a news conference at the annual American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, suggest that the presence of gum disease might increase the risk of a second heart attack in people with a history of heart disease.

"Not only did the heart attack patients with periodontal disease have higher levels of CRP than those without gum disease, but the CRP levels were directly related to the severity of the gum disease," said Dr. Efthymios N. Deliargyris, an interventional cardiologist and a member of the Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases at UNC-CH. "The more severe the gum disease, the higher the CRP levels."

Besides Deliargyris, also an instructor in medicine at the UNC-CH School of Medicine, study investigators were Drs. Steven Offenbacher, professor of periodontology and center director, James D. Beck, professor of dental ecology, both at the UNC-CH School of Dentistry, and Sidney C. Smith Jr., chief of cardiology and past president of the American Heart Association.

"We know a lot of risk factors for heart attacks, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cigarette smoking, but all those combined only explain about two-thirds of heart attacks," Deliargyris said. "Since about a third of people who suffer heart attacks don’t have those risk factors, there’s a wide search going on for other conditions that may contribute to increased risk."

Studies at UNC-CH and elsewhere have linked periodontal disease -- an advanced form of gingivitis -- with increased risk of heart attacks, but it has been unclear what the two conditions have in common, the physician said.

"The one thing we know the two conditions share is that they tend to initiate an immune response, also called an inflammatory response, in the body," he said. "The most common marker for this response is this C-reactive protein, which is considered predictive of future adverse events like heart attack."

To learn how common severe gum disease was in heart attack victims, the UNC-CH team conducted their pilot study of 38 heart attack patients and matched them with a comparable group of 38 other people without known heart disease. Researchers found a high percentage of the former had periodontal disease -- 85 percent -- as compared with only 29 percent of the controls.

"The most exciting finding was that among people with a heart attack, those with periodontal disease had much higher CRP levels than those with a heart attack but no periodontal disease," Deliargyris said. "It seems that the presence of periodontal disease on top of a heart attack has a synergistic effect and a very accentuated CRP release."

Despite its small size, the study findings are the first of their kind and potentially very important, he said.

"This gives us an insight into possible mechanisms underlying the association between gum disease and heart disease," Deliargyris said. "Now we believe that patients with a heart attack and periodontal disease have an exaggerated inflammatory response with higher CRP levels that might put them at risk for future heart attacks. This work also raises the possibility that by treating severe gum disease in people with heart attacks, we might be able to reduce their CRP levels and their risk of another heart attack."