Dentistry is no longer just about a healthy tooth (or teeth,) it is about full body wellness. How can you expect the rest of your body to be in excellent health if you neglect the very place where all of it starts-your mouth?
Approximately 47% of adults between the ages of 30-70 have some degree of periodontal disease. Research continues to confirm connections between the mouth and body, particularly involving periodontal disease, vascular disease, and atherosclerosis.
Heart disease and periodontal disease have several things in common.
The main similarity being INFLAMMATION – which narrows the coronary arteries and breaks down the tissues that hold teeth in place. Heart attacks and strokes are caused by a disease hiding in the artery wall (plaques containing bacteria and its byproduct toxins.)
These destabilizing plaques promote inflammation and thrombosis (clotting). Inflammation is the key to development and progression of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Periodontal pathogens (bugs) cause a cascade of events in your cells that result in atherosclerosis and potential for cardiac events/heart attacks.
The American Heart Association has done research showing direct connection between oral pathogens and acute heart attacks -it shows that as many as half of heart attacks are being triggered by oral pathogens.
Do not misunderstand. Periodontal disease does NOT cause these systemic outcomes but can contribute to the progression of systemic illness. What happens in the mouth affects the body as a whole – that is not in dispute.
Dentists are no longer repairers of teeth and gums but safe guarders as we help in improving people’s health and quality of life.