Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heart Disease, Diabetes Linked to Gum Diseases

Recently, I attended a dental implant symposium in Miami, Florida and received my Diplomate from the American Dental Implant Association. Congrats to me. However, during these symposiums, dentists have an opportunity to sit in on lectures given by learned and distinguished practitioners, researchers and clinicians from all over the world. There was a dentist there, who was also a micro-biologist, a research scientist, if you will. He presented slides and photos of micro bacterias and spirochetes, that live in our mouths, but are also associated, found and isolated with systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer. While these bacterias exist in our mouths to a lesser degree anyway, the research found that the concentration of these bacterias are progressively higher when associated with periodontal diseases (gum disease), gingivitis and bad teeth. Basically, these micro-organisms are found in higher concentrations in unhealthy mouths.

As I listened to the gentleman, my colleague, and several other lecturers that weekend, I felt compelled to share this information with not only my patients, but anyone who would listen. The days of neglecting your mouth are over. Find a dentist and get your oral health in order.

My practice, like most of my colleagues have many patients with high-blood pressure and diabetes. If the researchers are linking, even to a mild extent, the possibilities of preventing or getting better results in treating, certain systemic diseases by presenting a healthier mouth, then I encourage everyone to see a dentist, get the treatment you need, and create a routine check-up regime.

That bad tooth you've been putting off, that cleaning you have not had in years, that nervousness about going to the dentist because of a bad experience... No! Stop. Find a dentist. It's not an option anymore. If you are anxious about treatment, see your dentist and present that concern. There are many treatment modalities today that are far more comfortable, with advanced techniques including pre-medications, to help you relax before and during treatments. If there is an insurance/financial concern, afford yourself enough for an exam to see what work needs to be done. Most dentist will work with you. Just set the appointment, and get started doing a little work at a time, if necessary.

As I sat and listened to one particular colleague, it was interesting in a strange way, because I could remember hearing my grandmother say, exactly what he was saying scientifically, "that a bad tooth or teeth will make you sick". Site some of  these articles similar to my subject heading and do some research on your own, but most of all, find yourself a dental practice that you feel comfortable with, and began to take care of your mouth.

Mark V. Edwards, D.D.S.
Diplomate, American Dental Implant Association