Research shows direct link between dental health and general health

Tooth and Gum Disease May Increase Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Diabetes

Research has shown a direct link between the health of our mouths and our general health. Periodontal (gum) disease may increase adult risk of diseases such as heart, stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases. Tooth and gum disease and is one of the most common dental problems of older adults.

According to the 2006 British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) Adult Dental Health Survey, the dental health of adults is improving. Adults are keeping their teeth longer. While this is a positive outcome, retention of teeth increases the risk of periodontal disease. Approximately 54% of patients have moderate to deep pockets of infection, compared to 46% in 1996 and 31% in 1986. With more seniors keeping their teeth for a lifetime the need to maintain proper preventative care is vital to ensure a healthy mouth and body.

"Taking care of our teeth and gums is important through all stages of life," says Dr. Will Gaede, President, BCDA. "We're seeing the benefits of early prevention. Many adults keep their teeth for a lifetime. But, we also know that daily dental hygiene and professional care often decline with age. These factors, combined with use of certain medication and changes in diet can increase susceptibility of gum disease in older adults. Attention to regular dental care is particularly important as we age."

Poor oral health can also affect quality of life. Pain, missing teeth or infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes; and can affect one's physical, mental and social well-being.

With proper daily mouth care and regular professional monitoring, tooth decay and gum disease can be minimized or even prevented. Regular dental visits can also help screen for more serious diseases including oral cancer.

We seek advice from our medical doctor to prevent disease and address concerns about general health issues. Similarly, we need to consult our dentist about disease prevention and addressing concerns relating to oral health. By maintaining a healthy mouth, BC adults will be making a positive investment in their general health and overall well-being.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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