New medical research reinforces link between periodontal disease and overall systemic health
By Claudi Cortadi, DDS
Last week, medical researchers published early findings suggesting that changes in oral bacteria may help doctors detect pancreatic cancer. According to Fox News, the small yet groundbreaking study showed pancreatic cancer patients exhibiting different bacteria levels in their saliva as compared to healthy individuals; and while these findings must be confirmed within a larger test group before providing a sound basis for pancreatic cancer screenings, they stand in the meantime to reinforce the known connection between oral health and that of the rest of the human body – and to remind us why good dental care is essential to our total well-being.
As noted by experts at the American Academy of Peridontology, oral health is directly linked to full-body health and disease risk. Considerable research has been done to corroborate the connection between inflammation associated with periodontal disease (more commonly known as gum disease) and chronic inflammatory conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
However, while these conditions are serious and involve major health risks, they are also highly preventable – especially when targeted with a balance of wholesome lifestyle habits, good oral hygiene and routine exams with a qualified dental professional.
Preventing periodontal disease and systemic inflammation for optimal health
Periodontal disease is defined as inflammation of the gums, and is caused by infection due to untreated plaque deposits that, over time, can severely damage gum tissue, periodontal ligaments and tooth sockets. While periodontal disease is fairly common, and in no way a sure indicator of systemic disease, it can be a precursor to (or symptom of) conditions including diabetes or heart disease – and in both cases, regular dental exams and routine care are the best ways to prevent infection and keep illness at bay.
At Ablantis Dental, we believe in arming our patients with the tools they need for healthy teeth and gums; and while in-office examinations are a critical part of maintaining optimal oral health, the most important step in fighting gum inflammation and disease is daily at-home dental care. To protect yourself against periodontal disease, remember to incorporate the following steps into your daily routine:
- Brush teeth thoroughly, twice every day
- Floss daily – no exceptions
- Use antiseptic mouthwash to help eliminate plaque and kill bacteria
- Try an electric toothbrush for improved plaque removal
By combining good oral hygiene with regular exercise and a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains and low in sugars and saturated fat, everyone can arm themselves against the dangers of both periodontal and systemic diseases. To learn more or schedule an appointment for an exam with a qualified dentist, visit us online: www.ablantisdental.com.
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