Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Is Your Oral Health Harming You?

Is Your Oral Health Harming You?

You may think that you’re doing everything possible to lower your risk of chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia, but when’s the last time you scheduled an appointment to see a dentist in Oregon City?

While research connecting gum disease – also known as periodontal disease – and heart problems has been well established, a new group of recent studies have found surprising links between poor oral health and a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

This means that even if you properly manage your weight, moderate your drinking, and don’t smoke you’re still at a higher risk of developing stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and other deadly diseases if you ignore your oral health and don’t see a dentist in Oregon City.

Periodontal disease can begin as simple gum inflammation – gingivitis – and then progress to a more severe condition – periodontitis – that can cause permanent damage to the soft tissue and bone that hold our teeth into position. Periodontitis ranks as the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults in the U.S.

While losing our permanent teeth is troubling enough, periodontal disease also causes chronic bodily inflammation, which more studies are pointing to as a major component for this increased risk of disease.

A growing amount of research has started to attribute disease that develops throughout the body to inflammation, so if you suffer from periodontal disease – it will negatively impact the rest of your body.

Unfortunately for researchers, their claims that periodontal disease increases the risk of systemic disease in the body has yet to be proven conclusively. While there is no direct proof that gum disease causes long-term health problems, a number of studies have shown that individuals who suffer from gingivitis and periodontitis have a higher risk of developing these conditions.

Increasing Your Risk

Even as more research continues to strengthen the existing connections between our oral and overall health, current studies have already found compelling links between gum disease and an increased risk for:

  • Research shows that diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease, but studies have also shown that gum disease can actually make it harder for diabetics to manage their disease.
  • Heart disease. Inflammation makes it easier for fatty deposits of plaque to form in the heart’s blood vessels. When plaque ruptures, it can result in a heart attack-causing blood clot, or a stroke if the clot reaches the brain.
  • A study published last month found that postmenopausal women with gum disease have three times the risk of developing esophageal cancer when compared to women with healthy gums. The study also found those women to also have an elevated risk of developing gallbladder, lung, and breast cancer as well.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study that examined participants over the age of 50 found that those who suffered from periodontitis for more than 10 years were 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that tooth loss – a common cause of periodontal disease – may predict whether a person has rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease. One study in particular found that the more teeth lost, the greater the risk for RA.

Your Dentist in Oregon City Can Help

Protecting your long-term health from systemic diseases like those mentioned above requires protecting your oral health.

The best practices for ensuring healthy teeth and gums start at home by brushing and flossing daily. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes twice a day, and to floss daily. When combined, these habits help to remove the harmful oral bacteria that contributes to the development of gum disease from the surface of your teeth and along the gum line.

While brushing and flossing go a long way towards protecting your oral health, you also need to schedule regular exams and cleanings with your dentist in Oregon City. Regular dental care allows our team at Oregon City Dentistry to spot the signs of gum disease early on while still easily treatable.

Don’t neglect your health by neglecting your teeth and gums. Call today to schedule your next appointment with our team at Oregon City Dentistry.

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