Healthy mouth, healthy body – it’s all linked

gum disease treatment

We all know it is important to look after our teeth and gums and make regular appointments to see the dentist. This is very important to ensure our oral health is up to scratch but looking after our mouths effectively could also have a knock-on effect on our overall health and well-being as well.

There are a number of serious health issues which appear to share links with oral health, including:

  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Hearth conditions
  • Arthritis

And here is what is known about these links.

Oral health and ill health

For patients who are suffering from diabetes, it is not uncommon for doctors to see that they have poor oral health as well. It has been recognised that diabetes can have a negative effect on your oral health but it is now also believed that it can work in reverse too, with poor oral health contributing to diabetes.

According to a recently published report, “there is evidence that suggests that if you have severe gum disease that isn’t being treated, this can increase your levels of HbA1c.” HbA1c is the amount of sugar you have in your bloodstream and doctors believe that patients who have untreated gum disease are much more likely to have higher glucose content in their blood.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are also links between gum disease and heart attacks. Although more research is needed to test these links, it is believed that bacteria from the mouths of those with gum disease can contribute to heart conditions. It is not known exactly whether this bacteria causes conditions to arise, or worsens existing conditions, however, there is a suspected link and researchers are working to understand more about this.

Oral bacteria is also something that Arthritis UK are investigating, due to the suspected link between the development of rheumatoid arthritis and a build-up of nasty oral bacteria. “Arthritis Research UK is currently funding research to determine whether mouth and gut bacteria can ‘trick’ the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues, causing rheumatoid arthritis.” There are suspicions that the bacteria act as a catalyst for the development of the condition.

What does this mean for patients?

Here at CK Dental, we find the results of this study interesting, as it opens the cause and effect debate again. Assessment of these different conditions for this particular study was undertaken by Duke University’s School of Nursing in the USA, who evaluated past studies to establish whether or not a person’s oral health affects the rate of cognitive decline.

Certainly, although available data is currently limited, it does look as if poor oral hygiene probably contributes to the worsening of some serious conditions and seeking gum disease treatment as early as possible is essential.

Call 0117 905 9866 if you would like advice, diagnosis or gum disease treatment.