Your Mouth Is Key … To Overall Body Health!

Every day there is more and more evidence that proves the important connection between your oral health and your overall body health. In our own career we have seen increasing collaboration between dentistry and medicine because inflammatory diseases are common to both health management groups. That is, there are many ways in which researchers are linking gum diseases with systemic diseases and other conditions that you may have or may eventually develop including cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are not the only risk for those with poor oral health. People with diabetes, for example, are more likely to have gum disease than people who do not, and gum disease makes it more difficult for the diabetic to control blood-sugar levels. Some research has shown that when periodontal infections were treated, the management of diabetes markedly improved, and research continues in this promising area. As well, a number of studies have demonstrated that periodontal care significantly reduces the medical costs associated with diabetes, and New York University has sponsored a feasibility study to use gingival blood from periodontal patients as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying prediabetes.

There really isn’t enough time or space in one blog to address the mouth-body link in its entirety. Suffice to say that a comprehensive body of evidence from both long-term and short-term studies that are both credible and reliable has linked gum diseases with arthritis, cancers, osteoporosis, hearing loss, and complications of pregnancy in addition to the topics discussed here.

So what to do? Prevention is best, but treatment and monitoring run a close second. Gum disease begins at or below the gumline. Left untreated, these infections can lead to inflammation, which leads to bleeding. Your gums, previously an intact system, have become a wound, providing an open gateway for invading bacteria. Many scientists believe that harmful oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream through damaged gums and travel throughout your body. Your immune system can’t always fight the resulting infection.

Bottom line? Regardless of the mechanism, the link between gum disease and systemic diseases is clear. If you have poor oral hygiene, or tend to delay routine examinations, you might be putting more than your teeth in jeopardy. We encourage you to call our office, make and keep your appointments, and bring your questions with you.

Drummond Dental Group

© Patient News

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Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer and has the worst five-year survival rate of all major cancers. Yet with early diagnosis it can be cured. This disease often goes unnoticed because it usually starts painlessly. But it can be observed and we at Drummond Dental are in a unique front-line position to catch it early through painless oral cancer checkups during each of your regular examinations.

You may have noticed that we routinely evaluate your mouth including lips, cheek, tongue surface, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, the area of the throat at the back of the mouth including tonsils, and the base of your tongue.

What are we looking for? Any sore in your mouth that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change of the oral tissue, a lump or thickening in the cheek, a painless white or red patch, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth. In short – any change that appears to be suspicious. The vast majority of abnormal sores are not cancerous. Still, if we do see anything irregular, we will recommend follow-up testing and that you visit your doctor, especially if you have any persistent difficulty with chewing, swallowing, numbness, and unintentional weight loss.

We should all be alert to signs of oral cancer, and check ourselves for symptoms. Here is the 1-Minute Home Protocol: every month, look at your lips and mouth for the signs I mentioned earlier: a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change, a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness.

Call us or your physician if you have any of these, and even if you don’t find anything, please keep your regular dental checkups.

How else can you help yourself? Avoid using all tobacco products, minimize alcohol, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, apply lip balm with sunscreen, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which provide anti-cancer vitamins and antioxidants.

And don’t be nervous – you needn’t rely only on yourself. We are proud that we can serve as your first line of defense.

© Patient News