Updated: Jun 29, 2020
COVID 19 continues to wreak havoc on the world and it seems like everyday a new symptom is identified. This is a terrible virus that seems to have no boundaries, it can attack any and all systems.
I read a Facebook post the other day written by a fellow hygienist and wondered why I had not thought about this prior to reading her words... "Covid 19 isn't the only preventable disease that attacks the lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, pancreas and dramatically increases risk of heart attack or stroke."
I've decided to take this attention grabbing statement and turn it into a way to educate patients on the connection between their oral health and systemic health.I have created a series of graphics that I will use on my offices social media over the next month sharing information, system by system on how periodontal disease affects and is effected by overall health,
I am including my graphics below and my planned post content- feel free to use these graphics on your office accounts- email me at email@example.com if you would like me to send you the original files.
People are often surprised to learn how their oral health effects their systemic health.
We'll explore this topic in depth over the next few weeks!
Dental Health and Your Lungs
Did you know that practicing good oral hygiene could help your lungs? Poor oral health can directly contribute to a variety of respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Gum disease can aggravate existing symptoms of COPD and make flare-ups more likely, according to a2011 studyin theJournal of Periodontology.
Our bodies are like a big puzzle - each piece and function is tied to another. So if you haven't been taking care of your oral health, you could be setting yourself up for more trouble, even with your lungs. When bacteria that comes from environmental factors (like bad smog) combine with a buildup of bacteria in your mouth, it can actually end up damaging your lung tissue. This results in a higher risk of developing a respiratory infection.
If you already have a pre-existing condition, like asthma or bronchitis, this "buildup combination" can make the things even worse, so it's important you tell your dentist if you're noticing any new or worsening problems related to your oral health. Genetics, lifestyle and other stressors can also contribute to asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. This Information can be found at Deltadental.com
Keeping your heart healthy with better oral care
Claiming around 610,000 lives each year, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S.1 Did you know that research has found a link between this deadly disease and the health of your gums?
Having gum disease increases the risk of a first heart attack by 28%, according to a 2016 study by the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden.2
“Although the findings indicate a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, it’s still unclear whether one actually causes the other,” says the American Heart Association. The two conditions have some of the same risk factors, including smoking, poor nutrition and diabetes. Researchers believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the connection.3
Prevention is the best medicine
Regular healthy habits can lower your risk of both gum disease and heart disease. And, if you already have one or both of these conditions, these strategies can help reduce their impact:
Brush and floss regularly. To remove plaque-forming bacteria, brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, and don’t skip the floss.
Choose a healthy diet, rich in essential nutrients (especially vitamins A and C). Reduce or eliminate sugar and starches.
Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. These habits can destroy your gums and increase your chance of heart disease. This Information can be found at Deltadental.com
Understanding oral health challenges when you have kidney disease
When you have kidney disease, managing your oral health can be more complicated. You’ll want to work with both your medical doctor and dentist to balance the needs of your oral and overall health.
I have kidney disease. What should I tell my dentist?
Make sure your dentist knows what’s going on with your overall health and knows who your medical doctor is, so they can work together.
Tell your dentist:
What medications you’re taking.
If you’re on dialysis.
If you have a stent and where it is located.
If you notice your teeth becoming loose – this can be a sign of a calcium imbalance.
If you also have diabetes.
If your mouth frequently feels dry.
What complications can kidney disease cause to my oral health?
A Journal of Clinical Periodontology study showed that people with kidney disease and/or who are on dialysis are more likely to have oral health problems like periodontal (gum) disease than those with no kidney issues. While we all have bacteria in our mouth, someone with kidney disease who also has a buildup of bacteria in his or her mouth is more susceptible to infection because of a weakened immune system.
If your kidney disease is the result of having diabetes, then you may have additional issues such as “dry mouth,” which can be a side effect of medication and illness. Dry mouth affects your ability to produce saliva, which normally helps clean your mouth and teeth. As a result, you are at higher risk of bacteria and plaque building up and leading to gum disease and tooth decay. There are several over-the-counter aids for dry mouth, so be sure to tell your dentist if you’re having problems and ask for a recommendation.
How does diabetes play into kidney disease?
Diabetes can be the cause of chronic kidney disease, and can make you prone to additional oral health dangers, including:
Cavities (tooth decay)
Salivary gland problems
Periodontal (gum) disease
Delayed healing and infections
This information can be found at deltadental.com
The Connection Between Gum Health and Your Brain
One might not think that oral health and strokes are related, but in fact, our oral health connects to our general health. Your mouth is home to thousands of bacteria, some of which are linked to mouth diseases that can lead to problems elsewhere in the body. Learn more about how oral health and strokes are connected and what you can do to ensure that your mouth and body stay healthy.
The Connection Between Strokes and Oral Health
According to the National Health Service, oral bacteria have been linked to health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, problems in pregnancy, dementia and stroke. As the Cleveland Clinic reports, research has shown that, if the oral bacteria responsible for gum disease find a way into the bloodstream, they may cause C-reactive protein levels to rise. This elevation can indicate inflammation in the blood vessels and, ultimately, signal an increase in that person's risk of stroke and heart disease.
Possible Link Between Alzheimer's and Gum Disease
There is an increasingbody of evidenceto indicate that gum (periodontal) disease could be a plausible risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.Some studieseven suggest your risk doubles when gum disease persists for ten or more years. Indeed, a US study published inScience Advancesdetails how a type of bacteria calledPorphyromonas gingivalis– orP. gingivalis– which is associated with gum disease, has been found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Tests on mice also showed how the bug spread from their mouth to brain where it destroyed nerve cells.
Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss? If so, please know that this is not normal, and proper brushing and flossing should never cause this. Bleeding gums are a cardinal sign of gingivitis, which is a reversible form of gum disease, as the Mayo Clinic explains. When allowed to persist, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease (periodontitis), a more serious form of gum disease that may spread to the underlying bone and eventually lead to tooth loss.
This information can be found at Colgate.com
Study links poor oral health to pancreatic cancer
According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, men with a history of gum (periodontal) disease could be at increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Researchers from Harvard, the University of San Juan and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute analyzed data from more than 51,000 male subjects over a 16-year period. The purpose was to determine if gum disease or tooth loss may be related to pancreatic cancer. After adjusting for age, smoking history, diabetes, obesity, diet and other potential contributors to pancreatic cancer, the reviewers found that men with a history of gum disease had a 64 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men without a history of gum disease.
Nobody knows why gum disease may be linked to pancreatic cancer. Although the study showed an association between gum disease and pancreatic cancer, a definite cause and effect relationship was not established. Researchers speculate that chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body, which can potentially promote the growth of cancer.
Further research needed
While the study claimed that gum disease or tooth loss may increase pancreatic cancer risk through "plausible biological mechanisms," the American Dental Association (ADA) cautions that further research is required to validate this association. The ADA also says that the role that diabetes played in the results also requires further investigation, because diabetes is associated with both periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer often goes undetected until an advanced stage, making effective treatment difficult. The disease is commonly linked with tobacco smoking, age or family history. And, now, there may be a link to gum disease.
Today, more than 70 percent of the adult U.S. population has some form of gum disease. Maintaining oral health through regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene is essential to overall good health. This information can be found at Deltadental.com