Let Your Patients Know: Healthy Mouth = Healthy Body

As you know, research continues to support that a healthy mouth plays a big role in our overall health. In fact, the state of a person’s oral health is often a good indicator of their general health. However, many of our patients don’t know this or how maintaining a healthy mouth can affect their overall health.

You already know the human mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of which is relatively harmless provided they are kept in check by routine oral care. Let your patients know that poor oral care is linked to several serious illnesses including:

Heart Problems/ Cardiovascular Issues
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, an established link has been found between heart disease and oral care. This is especially true for patients who suffer with periodontitis, due to the fact that the disease, which results in swollen gums, can bleed and allow bacteria to enter the blood stream and affect the heart.

Endocarditis differs from heart disease in that it affects the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium. This condition causes the endocardium and the heart valves to become inflamed and has been linked to bacterial infections originating in the mouth.

Patients diagnosed with Diabetes have a lowered immune system as part of their condition.
This can place their gums at a higher risk as they are more susceptible to becoming inflamed or being infected by oral bacteria. The chronic infections these patients develop can lead to a weakening of the bones around their mouth which in turn can lead to tooth loss.

Links to Other Conditions
While some conditions have shown a direct connection to oral health, other diseases and chronic illnesses have shown to share a link with oral care. Further study continues to demonstrate their relationship. These conditions include:

* Alzheimer’s Disease – Tooth loss before age 35 has been cited as a risk factor for developing the disease.
* Premature Birth – Gum disease has been linked to premature delivery as well as low birth weight and even stillbirth.
* Osteoporosis – This bone weakening condition has been linked to bone weakening and loss due to periodontal disease.
* Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis – Chronic inflammation, a symptom of periodontitis, can be a contributing factor in these debilitating diseases.

Infographic depicts the interrelationship between gum disease and other chronic diseases.

Evaluating Oral Health

While certain aspects of oral care have been linked to certain illnesses, it is possible to take simple steps to prevent problems. Evaluating a patient’s oral health can often be the first step in a health care check for a person’s overall health.

A report from the World Health Organization has stated that “Integrating oral health into strategies for promoting general health … can greatly enhance both general and oral health.”

Educating your patients on the links between oral health and other diseases will help encourage your patients to continue to get routine examinations and cleanings. Your diligence in getting them into your office will help your patients reduce their risk not only of gum disease, but will help them increase their chances of having better overall health by potentially avoiding chronic diseases linked to gum disease.

If during your examinations, you find patients with signs of gum disease, let them know about how the disease can impact their overall health and that early treatment is critical. Fend off fear by also telling them that new treatment options such as LANAP are available to them. Have them contact our office here or call (904) 731-1324 to set up a consultation. LANAP is a dramatically less traumatic, yet highly effective alternative to treat gum disease.