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DENTAL HEALTH INFLUENCES ON OVERALL HEALTH
Heart disease and gum disease
Research has shown that chronic gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease. As gum disease is a bacterial infection, it can affect conditions outside your mouth.
One theory is that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they attach to the fatty deposits in the heart blood vessels, leading to the formation of blood clots which may lead to heart attacks.
It is critical to have regular preventive care to maintain the health of your gums and address any emerging concerns before they develop.
Diabetes and gum disease
New research has suggested a link between gum disease and diabetes. It is already known that people with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease; however, the research shows that chronic gum disease may be a risk factor for diabetes.
What is the link between gum disease and diabetes?
Gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and trigger the cells that produce inflammatory biological signals that have a destructive effect throughout the body. Cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin (blood sugar) can be damaged or even destroyed; once this happens, it may trigger Type 2 diabetes - even in a healthy individual with no other risk factors for diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you need extra special dental care.
Dental care for diabetics
It is vital to take good care of your teeth and gums, with regular examination every six months. Keep your dentist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication you may be taking.
If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise and make diabetes harder to control.
Other oral problems linked to diabetes include: thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth and dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities.
Smoking can stain and discolour your teeth, gums and the calculus build-up on your teeth and contribute to bad breath. Smoking can interfere with the body's healing process following certain dental procedures.In the long run, chewing tobacco, cigarettes and cigars all increase your risk of developing oral cancer and gum disease. For these reasons, if you smoke, it is even more important to have regular dental checks.
Quitting smoking - teeth whitening as an incentive
At Pymble Medical & Dental Centre, we've helped patients quit smoking with regular education and have also found teeth whitening to be a successful motivator. Once patients have their teeth beautifully whitened to a dramatically noticeable and lighter shade, they are often less inclined to return to smoking and the staining it causes.
If you a smoker and interested in changing the appearance and shade of your teeth, there are several ways to achieve this. Contact us to make an appointment about improving your smile.
Medications and your dental health
It is important to tell your dentist about any medications you take, including 'over the counter' ones.
Some medications may cause oral side effects such abnormal bleeding when brushing or flossing, ulcers, mouth burning, numbness or tingling and taste alteration.
More commonly, medications can cause dry mouth. This means there is not enough saliva in your mouth to keep it moist, and to protect your teeth.
Saliva is important as it helps digest food, protect teeth from decay, prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth and enables chewing and swallow.
Medications which can produce dry mouth include:
- Pain killers
- High blood pressure medications