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A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Life

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Many people are aware of the relationship between good health and long life, but have you ever considered that your mouth is a vital link between you and your overall health?  The importance of regular dental care has been shown repeatedly in studies related to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, nutrition and longevity. Dental researchers have found that the best option for long term oral health is to keep your natural teeth.  However, there are many options within the dental field to restore and replace teeth that have been affected by decay, fractures and periodontal (gum) disease.

 

Gum Disease

 If the average person were bleeding from any other part of the body, he or she would seek immediate attention; however, many people experience bleeding gums and don't give it a second thought.  The fact is that your gums are not supposed to bleed any more than your nose is.

Bleeding gums is a warning sign of periodontal (gum) disease, which, if it remains untreated and unchecked, can lead to tooth and bone loss.  One of the surest ways to prevent gum disease is to floss regularly (at least once a day) and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and assessment of the gum and bone.  Your dentist will also check your mouth for any signs of oral cancer.  Dental x-rays are another tool the dentist uses to find possible disease, cysts or tumors that otherwise cannot be seen in the mouth.

 

Heart Disease and Diabetes

Studies have shown a link between gum disease and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. There are documented cases of dentists being the first to alert patients to a possible heart condition that otherwise may not have been detected until it was too late.  People with diabetes also need to note that gum disease tends to be far more common and severe in diabetics. As a result, diabetics are more likely to lose their teeth.  Regular (at least every 6 months) dental visits can help prevent these outcomes. 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Trent Sayers, D.D.S with Couchman Center for Complete Dentistry. He may be reached at 719-593-0263

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Colorado - Colorado Springs