Did you know that maintaining your dental health is a key factor in disease prevention through the entire body? It’s true. Most adults in the United States have some form of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). It can range from inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) to periodontitis (where the gums pull away from the teeth, leaving room for massive infections).
Most people have early signs of gum disease and may not even realize it. So how does gum disease affect the rest of the body? The mouth is an integral part of your immune system. Bacterial imbalance can create immune problems and inflammation in other parts of your body. Why is that?
Gum disease is an active bacterial infection that has access to your entire blood stream. The chronic inflammation of gum disease can affect other areas of your body. Chronic inflammation can develop and/or compound the following health problems:
- Stroke (Increased Risk by 300%!)
- Heart Disease (Increased Risk by 72-168%! It also complicates surgeries and stents).
- Blood Vessel Blockage
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints)
- Oral Cancer
- Prenatal Health
Diabetes has a unique problem. If you are already diabetic, you are more likely to develop gum disease. Having diabetes makes it difficult to fight off infections, allowing the bacterial infection to grow. That chronic inflammation of your system, therefore, makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.
In 2010, a direct link of oral bacteria was found between a mother and her stillborn baby. Pregnancy runs a higher risk of gingivitis. Normally, the mother’s immune system can fight off the infection and protect the fetus, but if the infection is too great or the mother is fighting off an upper respiratory infection or other sickness, septic infection and inflammation can occur.
The lungs can also be affected as bacteria from gum disease adheres to saliva droplets you inhale. Pulmonary and respiratory infections can result from every breath.
In addition to all of the above issues, a person with periodontal disease will have an increase in carotid artery thickness.
You can eat well, exercise regularly, and in all other ways maintain a healthy lifestyle, but poor dental health can sabotage it all.
Your mouth is more than a place for food. It’s the starting line for your body’s health. Dental coverage is key to maintaining that healthy balance. As studies continue, we’ll find out more about the direct connections between mouth health and body health.
Your employees WANT dental. YOU want to keep your employees healthy, which statistic show disease begins in the mouth. Add Dental to your benefits package. It is an inexpensive benefit to use as an add-on to your current benefits or a stand-alone benefit. Contact our office with your company census for a no cost quote.