Studies show a strong link between the bacteria in your mouth and systemic disease. At any given moment there are more bacteria in your mouth than there are people in this planet. Your mouth is the gateway into your body and is filled with numerous small capillaries and blood vessels. Everyday normal wear and tear and gum disease allow the bacteria to travel through the small capillaries into your system. Gum disease has been linked to numerous systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, poor pregnancy outcomes, and osteoporosis. This strong link finally closes the gap between medicine and dentistry. Patients with periodontal disease have a compromised immune system due to the fact that the body has to constantly keep these microbes at check. The weak immune system opens up the path for other opportunistic infections.
The mouth body connection is a bidirectional system. Certain diseases can manifest themselves in the oral cavity such as diabetes, some hereditary conditions, certain cancers, osteoporosis and HIV. Conversely, the presence of periodontal disease can effect multiple organs in the body and may be a culprit in atherosclerosis, diabetes, and premature and low birth weight babies.
The relationship between oral health and diabetes is bidirectional and is difficult to conclude which occured first, the diabetes or periodontal disease. Many studies have shown a higher prevalence of periodontal disease amongst diabetics than in their control groups. However, the inability of poorly controlled diabetics to heal may lead to periodontal disease. Furthermore, the presence of periodontal disease can lead to difficulty in controlling blood glucose level. Therefore, prevention and treatment of gum disease must be at the fore front of controlling this disease.
As the gap between medicine and dentistry closes, it is important to educate the public on the health benefits of controlling periodontal disease.
To your health,
Dr. Rabee McDonald