Brushing Up With Dr. Brown


Does My Oral Health Affect My General Health?

We are asked this question often and the answer is yes. The term “Periodontal”, refers to “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums and or bone that supports the teeth. It is a chronic bacterial infection and it affects not only your teeth but also the rest of your body.

The surface area of you gum tissues attaching to your teeth is about the same as the circumference of a tennis ball. Imagine you had an infection somewhere in your body that size. Do you think it would have a negative effect on your health? Obviously it would and that is what periodontal disease does. It has a close effect on the following:

  • Expectant mothers will have a much greater risk of having a premature or
  • low birth weight baby.
  • Diabetics will have greater difficulty controlling their diabetes as the
  • inflammatory response makes it worse.
  • A higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in the form of heart attacks
  • and strokes.
  • A negative effect on the kidneys
  • Loss of supporting bone and gum tissue around the teeth and subsequent
  • loss of teeth.

The problem with periodontal disease is the inflammation it causes and how your body reacts to it. This is different for everyone due to your genetic makeup.

Periodontal disease can strike anyone at any age at any time. It can only be managed and not treated. Regular visits to your dentist a least twice a year and sometimes more is required to detect and prevent it from progressing to a phase where it could affect your general health.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to floss and brush your teeth daily and see your dentist for instructions specific to your particular health scenario. Enjoy your health. Enjoy your smile.