Soon cardiologists may routinely examine patients’ mouths just as dentists ask about heart health. This is the outcome of recommendations made jointly by leaders in both periodontal dentistry and cardiology in a consensus paper on the relationship between heart disease and gum disease. These professionals believe that managing one disease may reduce your risk of the other.
Cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in North America, may be linked to progressive gum disease, also a chronic inflammatory disease, which affects a large percentage of adults. Untreated, gum disease will eventually destroy supporting jawbone and ligaments, and it’s the major cause of adult tooth loss. In addition to cardiovascular diseases, it may affect conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, complications of pregnancy, respiratory diseases, cancers, and diabetes which is considered an epidemic.
Diabetes raises more fascinating questions about how oral and overall bodily processes may interact with one another. Diabetics are more likely to have gum disease than most people, and gum disease makes it more difficult to control their blood-sugar levels. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss which some research suggests may lead to hearing loss, which is about twice as prevalent among diabetics as the general population.
Not all the answers are in, but time is on your side. Research can lead to solutions…and most forms of gum disease progress slowly. With regular checkups, and good home care, dentistry can help maintain your oral health-and overall health.