More and more chronic diseases, both around the world and here in our local communities, are being shown to have oral health indicators before or as other symptoms arise. Of the top 7 causes of death listed in Chester County’s most recent health report (2013), 4 have oral health warning signs. Here is a list of those four diseases, and how a visit to Chester County Family Dentistry near Downingtown can help:
#7 – Diabetes
Diabetes is metabolic disease of elevated glucose levels in the blood due to the body’s inability to produce sufficient insulin. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection; as a result, gum disease tends to be more frequent and severe among people who have it.
Dental indicators of diabetes include dry mouth, bleeding gums, and tooth decay. Dentists who discover these symptoms in patients sometimes lead them on the path to awareness of the disease so they can manage their condition sooner.
#6 – Alzheimer’s Disease
Recent studies have demonstrated the presence in the brain of a bacterium commonly associated with gum disease. Absorption of this bacterium into the bloodstream may trigger immune system responses, causing brain cells to release more chemicals that kill neurons.
This could be one mechanism that leads to Alzheimer’s disease, and could be responsible for causing symptoms such as confusion and deteriorating memory. Minimizing bacteria in the mouth as well as the need for dental interventions could help prevent this development in the brain.
#3 – Stroke and #1 – Heart disease
Some research suggests that clogged arteries leading to heart disease and stroke may be linked to the inflammation that oral bacteria can cause. Several species of bacteria that cause gum disease have been found in the plaque in arteries. This plaque can lead to heart attack.
Oral bacteria may also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins in artery walls or the bloodstream. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth accelerates inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Maintaining your oral health may also protect your overall health, so practice good oral hygiene every day. Make sure you:
Also, contact your dentist as soon as any oral health problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. To schedule an appointment with Chester County Family Dentistry near Downingtown, call 610.431.0600.
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