The Link Between Oral Health and Systemic Disease

The oral cavity is the intersection of medicine and dentistry and the window into the general health of the patient. Hundreds of diseases and medications impact the oral cavity, and pathological conditions in the mouth have a greater systemic impact than many providers appreciate.  It is unclear whether there is direct causality or just an association between periodontal disease and certain other systemic conditions, including atherosclerotic vascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, pregnancy-related complications, osteoporosis, and kidney disease.  Diabetes has a true bidirectional relationship with periodontal disease, and there is strong evidence that treating one disease positively impacts the other.  Primary prevention- treating the patient prior to the onset of symptoms, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetic complications or significant periodontal disease—is the challenge.  Complications associated with these conditions cause significant morbidity and mortality and are incredibly costly to the health care system.  Unfortunately, a lack of access to primary medical or dental care prevents some patients from engaging the system until a negative event has occurred.  Despite the absence of clear evidence of causality and the direct impact of treatments, the consequences of these chronic conditions for the population are well understood.

Did you know that patients with periodontal disease are…

-24-35 percent more likely to develop plaque in coronary arteries

-4.5 times more likely to suffer from an ischemic stroke

-2.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease

-93 percent more likely to be at high risk for diabetes

-at a 62% increased risk for pancreatic cancer

-at an increased risk for lung infections

-At a 30-50 percent higher risk of giving birth preterm or to a baby with low birth weight

Your dentist doesn’t just treat cavities and gum disease.  These systemic conditions made more pronounced by the presence of untreated periodontal disease are a threat to your general health.  Taking care of your mouth helps you to also take care of your whole body.  One is linked to the other.

Take great care of yourself by keeping your regular dental visits regular.  We, at Spring Lake Dental Group, are excited about keeping the whole body healthy.