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Dental Health

The mouth is the gateway to health and wellness.  Research shows that infections in the mouth are linked to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes, and other systemic diseases.  As advocates for your overall wellness, we want to provide you with some information from Afina Dental on maintaining proper dental health.  

We encourage you to contact your dentist to see when you are due for a dental visit.  

If you do not have a dentist, Afina Dental is a UMR provider and ready to serve you!  

What does a healthy mouth mean?

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Did you know that the following diseases and conditions are related to dental health?!  It is important to maintain proper dental health to reduce your risk of these diseases and conditions.

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Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in with the person has high blood sugar because insulin production is inadequate, because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.  
How is diabetes related to the mouth?

  • Gum disease is the 6th most prevalent complication of diabetes.
  • Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes puts you at higher risk for gum disease.
  • Severe gum disease can increase blood sugar, decreasing your ability to manage your diabetes.
  • People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
  • People with diabetes are at an increased risk of thrush (fungal infection in the mouth).
  • Medications can cause dry mouth (less saliva to wash away germs and the acids that germs create).  This can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities.
  • Click here for more info.

Obesity.  Obesity is a medical condition in which excess fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to increased health problems and reduced life expectancy.
How is obesity related to the mouth?

  • People with obesity have more oral health problems than healthy individuals.
  • People with obesity have higher tooth decay levels, more missing teeth, and fewer essential dental fillings.
  • Obese individuals have a 76% higher rate of gum disease than individuals within a normal weight.
  • Plaque (sticky substance that contains bacteria) forms on teeth and gums, and feed on the sugars in the food you eat, making acids.
  • Acidity formed from plaque and sugary foods can attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating and over time destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.
  • Click here for more info.

Migraine headaches.   Migraines are a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches, usually affecting one side of the head, and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and aggravated by physical activity.
How are migraines related to the mouth?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your lower jaw connects to the skull.  Each of us has two TMJ's.  If the joint is out of alignment, it causes the muscles to strain in the face, head, and neck, even while at rest.  It also causes increased blood flow, which increases blood pressure. All of these symptoms can cause TMJ headaches and migraines.  Click here for more info.

Cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease, is affected by atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries.  This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through.  If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow, and this can cause a heart attack or stroke.
How is cardiovascular disease related to the mouth?

  • Oral bacteria can affect the heart when it enters the blood stream, attaching to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation, leading to obstruction of blood flow and increasing risk of heart attacks.
  • Inflammation caused by gum disease increases plaque buildup in the arteries, contributing to swelling of the arteries.  
  • People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease (thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to fat buildup).
  • Click here for more info.

Alzheimer's disease.  Alzheimer's is a progressive neurological disease of the brain leading to the irreversible loss of neurons and the loss of intellectual abilities, including memory and reasoning.
How is Alzheimer's related to the mouth?

  • Exposure to inflammation (like that experienced with gum disease) early in life quadruples one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Click here for more info.

Erectile dysfunction.  Erectile dysfunction is the regular or repeated inability to obtain or maintain an erection.
How is erectile dysfunction related to the mouth?

  • 15.8% of men with gum disease have erectile dysfunction.
  • Chronic inflammation associated with gum disease can lead to impotence.
  • Researchers found that lab rats with gum disease had unusually low levels of an enzyme called eNOS.  The eNOS enzyme produces nitric oxide, which in turn is used to relax the smooth muscles of the penis, allowing blood flow into the erectile tissue.
  • Click here for more info.
Pancreatic Cancer.  Pancreatic cancer occurs when there is out-of-control cell growth in the pancreas.  The cells continue dividing and form lumps called tumors, which interfere with the normal functioning of the pancreas.
How is pancreatic cancer related to the mouth?
  • Some research has shown men with history of gum disease had a 63% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those with no history of gum disease.
  • People with chronic inflammation caused by gum disease harbor higher levels of harmful bacteria in the mouth and gut.  Over many years, this can lead to higher amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines.
  • Click here for more info.
Pregnancy complications.  Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, beginning from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period.  It is divided into three trimesters, each lasting three months.
How are pregnancy complications related to the mouth?
  • Uncontrolled gum disease can increase premature labor and preeclampsia (rise in blood pressure).
  • 50% of the placentas from when with preeclampsia were positive for one or more periodontal pathogens.
  • One research study found bacteria commonly found in the mouth and associated with gum disease in the amniotic fluid.
  • Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease, which can affect the health of developing babies.
  • Bacteria responsible for tooth decay can be passed from the mother to the child in utero.
  • Pregnant women with acid reflux are at a greater risk of tooth erosion and gum problems because the acid begins to thin and wear away the protective coating of the teeth (enamel), leaving them weakened.
  • Click here for more info.
Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease.  In RA, the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, specifically the membrane that lines the joints.  As a result of the attack, fluid builds up in the joints, causing pain in the joints and inflammation throughout the body.
How is rheumatoid arthritis related to the mouth?
  • People with RA are 8 times more likely to develop gum disease than people without RA.
  • In people with RA and gum disease, 18% had severe gum disease, and 32% had moderate gum disease.
  • Controlling the inflammation through better dental care could play a role in reducing the incidence and severity of RA.
  • Studies have shown that when people with a severe form of RA cleared up their gum disease, their pain and other arthritic symptoms got better.
  • Click here for more info.

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