At our Beaverton family dentist practice, Dr. Williams and Dr. Truszkowski want to ensure that all of our patients enjoy a healthy, great looking smile for a lifetime. Healthy teeth and gums play an important role in more than just having an attractive smile. Research has found significant connections between an individual’s oral health and a range of chronic health problems. While researchers don’t yet know for certain what connects our oral and overall health, the evidence remains clear – the more problems you have with your teeth and gums, the higher your risk becomes for a variety of serious illnesses.
Let’s take a look a few reasons why your oral health matters, and why you need to continue scheduling regular exams and cleanings at our Beaverton family dentist practice.
When plaque – a sticky biofilm comprised of harmful oral bacteria – builds up on the surface of our teeth and gums it uses the sugars we consume to produce acids that slowly erode away our enamel and cause inflammation to occur in gum tissue. The more plaque that builds up – which occurs from not brushing or flossing enough – the more damage the biofilm can do to the long-term health of our teeth.
Studies have also found a connection between gum disease and heart disease. One recent review that compared the two conditions found that gum disease actually increases an individual’s risk of heart disease by nearly 20 percent. Given this and other evidence, both the American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have acknowledged a connection between these two diseases.
Gum disease has been linked to diabetic control in a number of studies. Patients with poor blood sugar control have a higher frequency of developing gum disease. Diabetes patients are more likely to develop severe gum disease and experience higher rates of tooth loss when compared to patients without diabetes.
Conversely, patients with gum disease have a harder time managing their blood sugar levels. This makes the connection between these two diseases almost symbiotic in nature. Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease if they cannot control their blood sugar levels, and patients with gum disease have a harder time of keeping their diabetes in check.
Taking care of your teeth and gums by visiting our Beaverton family dentist practice could also help to lower your risk of dementia. A recent study has added to a growing amount of research that links severe gum disease, also known as periodontitis, with an increased risk of dementia.
In the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers say they found a modest link between severe gum disease and dementia, which further validates the results of previous research.
Protecting Your Health
Other common health problems linked to poor oral health include stroke, arthritis, obesity, and even cancer. What this connection tells us is that protecting our long-term health means making our oral health a top priority. This means brushing and flossing twice a day, and scheduling regular exams and cleanings at our Beaverton family dentist practice.