Periodontal disease, a.k.a. gum disease, refers to the attachment apparatus of the tooth. That is, how the tooth is attached to the body. Bone surrounds the tooth and there is a ‘periodontal’ ligament that exists between the tooth and the bone. When bone dissolves around the tooth, this is one example of ‘periodontal disease.’ Is it a surprise to fine that those patients that a least fit are the same patients that are most susceptible to gum disease. NO! These patients are least likely to be taking care of their oral health, as well. Cardiac disease has been linked to oral health. Patients with periodontal disease are more likely to have cardiac problems. Medicine and dentistry today see a link with a patient’s overall health and the patient’s oral health. If your gums bleed and you are overweight and you smoke and your idea of oral hygiene is when you see the dentist twice a year, you are at risk for health problems, as well as dental problems. The two go hand in hand.
Systemic Health segues into Oral Health. Oral Health segues into Systemic Health. They go together. I am not saying that if there is obesity, there is gum disease. Or gum disease leads to obesity. But there is a link to lack of health in one area leads to a lack of health in another.
It is imperative to take care of yourself, both systemically and orally. We live in a society that is increasingly doing the ‘supersize’ thing. More is better. Right? More food is better than less food. Large serving size is always better than moderate serving size. Right?
We have to be responsible for our own care, both dental and medical. Prevention. Not smoking. Not eating excessively. Exercising. Regular exams. Proactive care.
So it is not a surprise that there is a link between obesity, lack of fitness, and gum disease. It would be more surprising if there wasn’t a link. Taking care of yourself leads to all sorts of dividends. Exercise leads to greater alertness. In fact, I have never heard of any study that indicates less exercise is better! We need to have a major shift in our thinking so that greater exercise leads to being more fit, leads to greater overall health leads to better oral health. Is this a no-brainer?
If a patient gets twelve porcelain veneers, does that improve her overall health? I have seen, time and time again, the increase in self-esteem leads to patients taking better care of themselves, and, thereby, better overall health. Does Invisalign do the same? Yes. I have seen patients take better care of themselves, once they start looking better.
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