As your eyes are the windows to your soul, so too is your mouth the window to your body. The food you eat, the beverages you consume, and much of the air that you breathe all pass through your mouth before entering your body. There should be little surprise, therefore, to learn that the health issues affecting your mouth can pose a risk to your physical health, as well, if not attended to quickly. To remind you of the importance of maintaining a clean and healthy mouth, Syosset dentist, Dr. Richard Kobak, explains how gum disease can leave its legacy on your systemic health.
Gum Disease and the Oral-Systemic Connection
The majority of possible oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease, begin with the formation of oral bacteria into dental plaque. As plaque grows, its bacteria grow stronger and more capable of inflicting damage on your teeth and gums. When they accumulate along your gumline, these bacteria release toxins that harm your gum tissue and cause it to separate from your teeth. The destructive power of gum disease stems from the inflammation that these bacteria elicit from your immune system. As your body believes it is fighting off an infection, it is actually exacerbating gum disease’s progression and destroying your gum tissue and supporting jawbone. When infected, the tissues in your mouth can provide an excellent pathway for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream, which many experts believe explains the presence of oral bacteria at sites of other bodily illnesses, including heart disease, some forms of cancer, and dementia.
Gum Disease Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers from across the world are investigating the oral-systemic connection in hopes of developing effective treatments for some of humankind’s most troubling maladies. This search led researchers from the NYU College of Dentistry to investigate the connection between gum inflammation and brain inflammation, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers examined the history of 152 elderly patients to determine their risk factors for dementia and the state of their oral health. The study spanned a period of 20 years, and concluded that participants that exhibited signs of gum inflammation and disease were at a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life than those who did not exhibit any signs of gum disease. This correlation did not change in light of other risk factors like obesity and cigarette smoking.
Excellent Dental Care in Long Island
As research continues to add to the oral-systemic theory, the importance of good oral health becomes increasingly clearer. To learn more about protecting your oral health, or to speak with your Syosset dentist, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kobak by calling our Syosset dental office at (516) 433-2211. We welcome patients from Long Island, Nassau, Suffolk, and the surrounding New York City neighborhoods.