The Unspoken Importance of the Oral Systemic Connection

With new studies and research consistently showing an overwhelming relationship between oral health and systemic health, WE ALL NEED TO START PAYING ATTENTION!
As dental care providers, people come and see us for several reasons…educating, diagnosing, and treating their oral needs, just to name a few. In the past couple of years, our team has taken on a new level of responsibility, informing our patients of the ORAL-SYSTEMIC LINK.
Evidence shows that harmful oral bacteria/periodontal disease and several medical conditions/systemic diseases (including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, strokes, diabetes, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s Disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy) can adversely affect each other.
Here are a few convincing facts to think about:

  1. At least 80% of American adults have gum inflammation/disease.
  2. Gum disease and tooth loss increase one’s risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  3. If you have diabetes and bleeding gums, your risk of premature death increases by 400 to 700 percent.
  4. Gum disease increases risk for head & neck cancer, and pancreatic and kidney cancer.
  5. Poor ventilation during sleep triggers nighttime clenching & bracing to maintain the airway.
  6. Cavities are caused by acid-loving bacteria and can spread during kissing and sharing food.
  7. Oral bacteria are being found in brain tissue, heart vessels, joints, and many other parts of your body
  8. A 2016 analysis of pooled studies of more than 7,000 people found those with periodontitis were more than twice as likely to suffer heart attacks, compared to people with healthy gums! (1)
  9. Recent published studies suggest that up to 50% of all heart attacks may be triggered by an infection in the mouth.
  10. Although you may have seen headlines claiming there’s not much science to support flossing, in a nine-year study of 5,611 older adults, people who never flossed had a 30% higher death rate than those who flossed daily! The study also found that people who hadn’t gone to a dentist in the previous year had a 50% higher mortality rate than those who went 2 or more times annually, prompting the researchers to conclude that good oral health promotes longevity by helping people avoid deadly systemic diseases sparked by infections and chronic inflammation, such as CVD. (2)

So, as you can see here, the new paradigm of optimal oral and systemic health must include dentists and medical doctors working together for our patients! It’s a passion of ours here at Green Valley Dental that we will continue to take on, not only providing the best dental treatment possible, but contribute to SAVING LIVES!

(1) Dental Health Behaviors, Dentition, and Mortality in the Elderly: The Leisure World Cohort Study Annlia Paganini-Hill,1,2 Stuart C. White,3 and Kathryn A. Atchison4
(2) Association between Myocardial Infarction and Periodontitis: A Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies Quan Shi,† Bin Zhang,† Na Huo, Chuan Cai, Hongchen Liu,* and Juan Xu*


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