What happens in your mouth doesn’t stay in your mouth. That’s because the systems and organs in your body are connected to and dependent upon one another. Your body could not function otherwise. For example, blood is oxygenated by your lungs and your heart pumps it throughout your body. That’s why medical conditions that affect your mouth cannot be isolated to your mouth.
The mouth-body connection is a two-way street: “What goes on in your mouth can affect the rest of your body.” Furthermore, “What goes on in your body can also have an effect on your mouth.” This is particularly true when it comes to gum disease, which is deeply related to several serious health issues.
The overall health of your body is deeply connected to the condition of your gums. Dr. Kirsch in Sebring is a periodontist, which means that in addition to being a dentist, he also has years of additional training on matters related to your gums.
Almost half of Americans over the age of 30 suffer from gum disease, an infection of the gums that can wreak havoc on your smile. It’s caused by bacteria that feeds on the plaque and tartar that develops on your teeth. Plaque is the filmy substance that forms on your teeth after a meal. If it’s not removed by daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash, plaque will harden and become tartar. Tartar is the rough substance that your dental hygienist scrapes off your teeth during your regular dental cleanings. It’s essential to practice effective daily oral hygiene and visit Dr. Kirsch for regular checkups to prevent gum disease.
There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. If gum disease is treated early, during the gingivitis stage, it’s much easier to control. Gum disease can seriously damage the health of your smile and the rest of your body if it’s allowed to progress. When gum disease reaches the advanced periodontitis stage, the symptoms are truly alarming:
Researchers are discovering new links between gum disease and serious medical conditions all the time:
There’s a strong association between gum disease and heart disease. Scientists have speculated that inflammation caused by gum disease is spread throughout the body by your bloodstream. This could cause inflammation of the blood vessels in your heart, leading to heart disease. It’s also been demonstrated that cardiac issues will increase your likelihood of developing gum disease.
The relationship between strokes and heart disease requires further study, but research demonstrates that people who suffer a stroke are more likely to develop gum disease.
People who have been diagnosed with diabetes have higher incidence of gum disease than the general population. Gum disease also increases blood sugar which causes complications for people with diabetes.
Research suggests a strong link between gum disease and respiratory infections such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These infections may be a result of inhaling bacteria from the mouth into the lower respiratory tract.
Additional medical conditions that have been linked to gum disease include: dementia, premature childbirth, rheumatoid arthritis, and some types of cancer.
At Heartland Periodontics, Dr. Kirsch provides a number of preventative and restorative treatments to protect you from gum disease. Call today and schedule your next checkup to help keep your smile and your body healthy and strong.
Dr. Michael Kirsch
4660 Lakeview Drive
Monday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Thursday: 8:30AM – 5PM
Friday: 8:30AM – 5PM