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Today’s Health Byte Article: Healthy Gums = Healthy Life

According to, the website of the American Academy of Periodontology, “Cardiovascular disease, the leading killer of men and women in the United States, is a major public health issue contributing to 2,400 deaths each day. Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys bone and gum tissues that support the teeth affects nearly 75 percent of Americans and is the major cause of adult tooth loss. And while the prevalence rates of these disease states seems grim, research suggests that managing one disease may reduce the risk for the other.
And it is not only the health of the heart that comes into play with gum disease. Cigna Health & Life stresses in its flyers for physicians that “gum disease may increase the chances of a preterm, low birth-weight baby. The changing hormone levels in some pregnant women can make dental problems worse. That’s why it’s important that pregnant women take special care to properly brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss daily and get regular dental checkups.” Just scanning the research-based headlines from the Oral-Systemic Health (OSH) Network’s website is enough to give one pause:
  • Oral Pathogen Blocks Immune System from Attacking Colorectal Cancer
  • “Breast Cancer Gene” Linked with Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Antibodies from Oral Bacteria Linked to Cognitive Decline
  • Bacteria Affect Glucose Levels in Non-Diabetics
And that is only a partial list of the bodily pathologies that can result from taking poor care of one’s teeth and gums. Regarding the maintenance of a healthy mouth as a safeguard to a healthy heart, a consensus report, published simultaneously in the Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology, made these recommendations:
  • Dentists should tell patients with moderate to severe gum disease that they may have an increased risk for heart and blood vessel problems. People who have moderate to severe gum disease and a known risk factor for heart disease, such as smoking, should consider getting a medical evaluation if it’s been one year or longer since their last one.
  • Physicians and their dentists should work together to focus on reducing heart disease risk and ensuring good periodontal care for patients with heart disease and gum disease.
  • Patients with heart disease who also have signs or symptoms of gum disease (but have not yet been diagnosed with it) or a high CRP level should get a periodontal evaluation.
Good recommendations to keep in mind when working with your Complete Health-based dental-health professional and primary-care physician. Resources: American Academy of Periodontology OSH Network