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We are often asked the question: Does my oral health affect my general health? The answer is yes.   The term Periodontal”, refers to “around the tooth”.  Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums and or bone that supports the teeth.  It is a chronic bacterial infection and it affects not only your oral health but also the rest of the body.

The surface area of your gum tissues attaching to your teeth is about the same as the circumference of a tennis ball.  Imagine you had a infection somewhere in your body that size.  Do you think it would have a negative effect on your general health as well as your oral health?  Obviously it would and that is what periodontal disease does.  It has a close effect on the following:

–Expectant mothers will have a much greater risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby.

–Diabetics will have greater difficulty controlling their diabetes as the inflammatory response from the periodontal disease will make it worse

–A higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in the form of heart attacks and strokes

–A negative effect on the kidneys

–Causes inflammation of the gum tissues and leads to infection of the bone supporting the teeth

The problem with periodontal disease is the inflammation it causes and how your body reacts to it.  This is different for everyone due to your genetic makeup.  Periodontal disease can develop at any age at any time.  Regular visits to your dentist a least twice a year and sometimes more often are required to detect and prevent it. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to floss and brush your teeth daily and see your dentist for instructions specific to your particular medical and dental history and health scenario. Enjoy your health and smile for a lifetime.  Visit the AAP at:https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease.htm  for more information.

Dr. Lewis Brown