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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Are Systemic Disease Linked to Oral Health?

The mouth is a doorway to the rest of your body with regard to not only the good and bad things that you put in your mouth, but also your oral health. Numerous studies show that poor oral health can adversely affect your overall health, contributing to serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, says Orange County dentist, Dr. Steve Ngo.
Earlier studies believed that bacteria buildup was the link between periodontal disease and other health issues in the body. However, more recent research suggests that the inflammation could be responsible for the link between the two. More specifically, infections in any part of the body could affect the function and health of other tissues and organs (remotely).
Why is inflammation bad?
systemic disease oral healthInflammation is a natural body process in response to cellular injury. It is a protective response intended to free the body of the primary cause of cellular injury and the effect of that injury. When inflammation occurs, antibacterial agents are released from the cells around the site of injury to defend against infection and initiate tissue healing and repair. But inflammation also affects the periodontium.
When bacteria builds up in the mouth, the plaque biofilm that forms around the teeth and gums releases different biologically active products that colonize and penetrate these surfaces, initiating a host response that leads to gingivitis (the initial stage of gum disease). This results in the signs of gingivitis, including swelling, gums turning red from pink, and bleeding upon probing.
While gingivitis can be easily corrected through proper dental care (regular brushing and flossing, regular dental checkups), it is a painless condition that rarely prompts the individual to take any remedial action.
So, gingivitis becomes a chronic condition that is gradually turning to periodontitis. During the transformation, the plaque biofilm continues to act on the surfaces. This increases the permeability of the gum vessels such that plasma proteins move from the blood and into the gum tissues, resulting in inflammation.
Continued inflammation leads to the release of pro-inflammatory substances in the gum tissues, with antibodies fighting oral bacteria circulating in the peripheral blood.
How gum inflammation leads to systemic diseases.
Studies show that inflammation at a distant site can lead to cardiovascular diseases and even pre-term labor. Periodontal disease is characterized by gum inflammation, which causes an elevation of inflammatory mediators in response to the injury.
The inflammatory mediators from periodontal disease are believed to affect other remote organs and tissues. Additionally, the systemic spread of periodontal microbes in the bloodstream leads to complications in other parts of the body.
Research shows a two-way connection between oral health and a number of systemic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, osteoporosis, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and HIV.

To keep your mouth and body health, proper dental care at home should be combined with regular dental checkups and healthy lifestyle options (no smoking, reduced alcohol consumption).

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