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How Dental Health Can Impact Overall Wellness

diagram of periodontitisAt Brookline Dental Specialists, we know that the health of your teeth and gums can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. The delicate tissue and blood vessel that line your mouth and digestive tract can absorb harmful bacteria that grows in the mouth. These bacteria, and the infections they can cause in your mouth, can also spread infection to other parts of your body.

Patients with advanced gum or periodontal disease, which creates high levels of bacteria in the mouth, are at higher risk for more serious and dangerous health conditions. The American Academy of Periodontology have noted a link between chronic bacterial infection of the gums with an increased risk of heart attack, clogged arteries, and stroke. Untreated periodontal disease has also been associated with the worsening of existing heart disease.

Gum disease brought about by poor oral hygiene has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a complication of diabetes. The high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes can impair the regular blood flow of the blood vessels in the mouth. Poor blood flow can weaken the gums, making them more vulnerable to infection. High blood sugar levels can also encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which can result in an increased risk for cavities.

Chronic periodontal disease has also been linked to higher incidents of oral cancers. Recent studies, including one from Harvard Medical School published in the medical journal Gut, show that patients with untreated periodontal disease have higher rates of oral cancer diagnoses than patients with no signs of periodontal disease or periodontal disease that is being actively treated by a periodontist.

plaque on teethWhile the health implications of poor oral hygiene and advanced gum or periodontal disease are serious, you can lessen your risk of serious complications by working with our team of hygienists and specialty dentists at Brookline Dental Specialists. When you come in for a routine cleaning appointment, our hygienists not only clean built-up plaque and tartar from your teeth, they take a digital wellness scan of your mouth, looking for potential signs of more serious conditions, like gum disease. Our knowledgeable dentists will examine your whole mouth for signs of oral cancers annually at your regularly scheduled hygiene maintenance appointments.

If you do have gum or periodontal disease, our expert periodontist will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that can help restore the health of your teeth and gums. We offer a wide range of treatments, depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, including scaling and root planing to deep clean your teeth and gums. For more advanced cases where gum or tooth loss has occurred, we can offer soft tissue grafts to restore lost gum tissue and dental implants to replace lost teeth.

The most important thing you can do to protect your mouth and body from the harmful effects of disease-causing bacteria is to follow a regular routine of twice daily brushing and flossing combined with bi-annual professional cleanings at our office. Your daily dental habits and commitment to your oral health can go a long way to preventing gum or periodontal disease. If you are diagnosed with gum or periodontal disease, we can offer you treatments to help control that disease from causing more serious health problems in other parts of your body. While we are primarily concerned with the health of your mouth, we are ultimately concerned with your overall health!

Brookline Dental team

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