Vail Daily column: Oral care and general health | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Oral care and general health

When people think of oral care, most don't associate it with diabetes and coronary heart disease.

This is not meant to be a sensational statement; it is fact. However, if it did capture your attention, you may be interested to know that your oral hygiene affects your overall health.

It is important that people educate themselves in effort to better understand the colorations between oral health and general health. They are interlinked and understanding how will provide insight to better over-all health.

Diabetes

When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow which can lead to gum disease.

Recommended Stories For You

The World Health Organization has projected that by 2030 the number of people worldwide affected with diabetes will increase by almost 100 million. As such, diabetes represents a major health concern.

For people who are diagnosed with diabetes, it is estimated that about 22 percent have periodontal, or gum, disease. Emerging research suggests that gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and thus contribute to the progression of diabetes.

One of the links between diabetes and poor oral care stems from the glucose which is present in your saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow which can lead to gum disease.

Procedures such as root canals, crowns and other invasive procedures tend to enable bacteria and toxins present in your mouth to travel to other parts of your body and thus wreak havoc. This is one reason why dentists most often provide antibiotics when performing such these procedures.

The American Dental Association and research facilities across the world indicated that when people with diabetes manage their oral care, they have much more success managing their blood sugar levels.

Cardiovascular Diseases

The relationship between oral health to cardiovascular health is being studied at many research institutions. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe that for people who have some congenital heart defects and artificial heart valves, the correlation between oral care and heart health does exist.

It is thought that periodontal disease symptoms such as swollen and bleeding gums enable bacteria and toxins from your mouth to enter the blood stream. When this happens, the potential for the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries is elevated. These plaque deposits can lead to serious problems, such as blood clots, which can block blood flow and thus cause a stroke.

According to a report in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, people with periodontal disease may have a 59 percent greater possibility to have a history of heart problems.

Make sure to inform your dentist of any heart issues you may have prior to having any oral procedures. Your dentist may need to provide you with antibiotics before they perform certain types of dental procedures.

Talk to your dentist

People who take blood thinning medications may need to stop taking these medicines before some dental procedures. These medications may inhibit with the body's normal clotting ability which is of concern to dentists for procedures that cause bleeding. This is something your dentist may choose to discuss with you and your physician.

People who have angina and take calcium channel blockers as well as people who may take medications that have the side effect of causing dry mouth should also inform your dental provide before prior to an oral procedure.

Informing your dental provider of such concerns may allow them to suggest options and may prevent unnecessary concerns.

The correlation between oral care and overall health is hard to disputed. If your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch, bleed when you eat, brush or floss, or you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth, then you may have greater concerns than you may think.

You can protect yourself from developing and exacerbating many health concerns by paying attention to your oral health.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. For more information, please visit http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or call 970-328-5526.