As part of our daily personal hygiene, brushing our teeth in the morning and before going to bed (and after each meal…) has been a habit since we were very little children. Going to the dentist for our 6 month cleaning should have been a habit since a young age also. Today we are learning more about good, dental hygiene and how not so good, dental hygiene can cause us harm. Check out the information below from Life Line Screening, who will be in Jasper on Tuesday, October 12 at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1036 North Main Street, Jasper – Life Line Screening, Jasper, GA
Courtesy of Life Line Screening
Because of research over the last ten years, we are learning that to stay healthy, oral health care is a key lifestyle factor to be added to diet and exercise and that we can significantly reduce our risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even pre-term birth. The visit to your dentist is about more than pretty teeth—it may save your life.
The main thrust of this research was defined by the former Secretary of Health & Human Services Donna Shalala who said in her address of 2000:
“The terms oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. Oral health is integral to general health; this report provides important reminders that oral health means more than healthy teeth and that you cannot be healthy without oral health”.. Studies have demonstrated an association between periodontal diseases and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Now that last statement is more than a mouthful and deserves some explanation.
We have all heard our hygienist telling us that we should brush and floss better. When we don’t do a good job the bacteria in our mouths can form colonies of non air breathing or “anaerobic bacteria” that cause gum disease. When your gums become inflamed, they bleed resulting in the gingivitis you hear about in the TV mouth wash ads. The waste products of these bacteria react with food deposits and gum tissue to produce sulfur compounds which cause bad breath and allow the bacteria to attack the gums further.
If not stopped, periodontal pockets form which give the anaerobic bacteria a place to hide from your floss and toothbrush. You now need the help of your dentist to combat the problem. The bacteria can then enter the blood stream and find their way into your arteries, causing plaque to dislodge and travel to your heart causing a heart attack or brain causing a stroke. This bacteria can also increase inflammation throughout the body contributing to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even certain cancers.
People are taking a more active role in protecting their health.
Over 70% of health is a result of lifestyle choices that people make for themselves. What if you could:
- Reduce your chance of a heart attack by 72%
- Cut your risk of getting diabetes by 50%
- Lower your risk of some cancers by 30% or more
And all you had to do was a better job of brushing your teeth?
Well, not exactly. What you have to do is make sure that you don’t have periodontal (gum) disease and if you do, you will need to do more than brush and floss.
Gum disease?- not me!
Think you don’t have gum disease? It is better if you don’t guess, because you are likely to guess wrong. By the age of 54, over 50% of the population has periodontal disease. The good news is that you and your hygienist no longer have to guess whether your pink toothbrush is caused by a stressful day at the office or dangerous periodontal disease.
The Good News
Is that you don’t have to just accept risking these leading killers, now there is something you can do about it.
- Take the Oral Bacteria screening at your local Lifeline Screening. We are now partnering with the Centers for Dental Medicine to offer this program at select screening events.
- Visit your dentist every six months
- Ask your hygienist to test for periodontal pathogens.
- If your dentist does not determine your A1c and CRP scores, ask your MD how to get them.
- Actively work with your hygienist to learn the best way to brush and floss and the best products to use to keep the bacteria away. You may need to change your homecare products to best protect you especially if you have gum disease or have had it in the past.
- If you do need periodontal treatment it can now be done painlessly and quickly with lasers and modern technology. Nothing has been proven to eliminate gum disease better than Laser therapy.
- Assess your health risks by participating in Life Line Screening’s Know Your Number program.
Then you can know that you are doing everything possible to reduce health risks caused by gum disease.
- DeStefano F, et al:Dental disease and risk of coronary heart disease and mortality. Brit Med J 306:688-691, 1993
- Annual Meeting American Diabetes Association June 6, 2008- Dr. George W. Taylor, Univ. of Michigan (see attached report)
- Michaud DS, et al “Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: A prospective cohort study” Lancet Oncol 2008; 9: 550-58. http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/PreventiveCare/9613
- University of Maryland Medical Center http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_gets_periodontal_disease_000024_4.htm
- US Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General– Executive Summary. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, 2000.