Connection Between Oral Disease And Systemic Disease

Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health? Or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Understand the intimate connection between oral health and overall health and what you can do to protect yourself.
 
What's the connection between oral health and overall health?
 
Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, dental procedures, medications, or treatments that reduce saliva flow, disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth or breach the mouth's normal protective barriers may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
 
Scientists at the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, report new studies on the connection between oral disease and systemic disease. A recurring theme is the relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and infant prematurity, diabetes, or stroke. 
 
Studies reporting on the efficacy of treating periodontal disease to lower the incidence of infant prematurity worldwide may be conflicting when pregnant mothers with periodontal disease are treated with scaling and root planing (tooth cleaning above and below the gum line). While treatment of mothers with mild periodontal disease usually does not have an effect on infant prematurity, the greatest effect has been reported by scientists to be observed in mothers with generalized severe periodontal disease. A higher prevalence of premature births is found among African-Americans than among Caucasians in America or Europe. The reasons are not clear but warrant further study and, possibly, targeted preventive measures, including periodontal care. 
 
The theme continues for the treatment of patients with diabetes or a history of cerebro-vascular accident (stroke). In a single year, patients with medical and dental coverage from a private single carrier exhibited average savings, in medical costs, of USD$10,142 per patient in the cerebro-vascular accident group and $1,418 per patient in the diabetes group. 
 
Yes, indeed, your smile may be connected to your overall health. 
 
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