Lafayette Dentist: Is the Oral-Systemic Connection Relevant to You?

many people thinkingFresh breath and a clean, bright smile are the obvious benefits of good dental hygiene, but the consequences of your oral health extend beyond an appealing smile. According to numerous studies by researchers around the world, the mechanisms behind destructive oral health issues, like gum disease, can be significant risk factors in certain serious systemic illnesses. Today, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael J. Young, explores some of the research that suggests how your oral health can influence your physical health; a relationship known as the oral-systemic connection.

Oral Health and…

Respiratory Illness

A study published in the Journal of Periodontology suggests that patients with preexisting gum disease were at a significantly higher risk for respiratory infections such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As a progressive disease, gum disease begins with a bacterial infection among your soft gum tissue, while respiratory infections typically develop after inhaling bacteria from the upper throat into the lower respiratory tract. The study included 200 participants, half of which were hospitalized with respiratory disease. After extensive oral examinations, researchers found that the hospitalized patients had significantly worse periodontal health than their control counterparts.

Heart Disease

One of the worst contributing microbes to gum disease is the germ Porphyromonas gingivalis, which manipulates your immune system and incites excessive inflammation. In some studies, the presence of P. gingivalis infection has been shown to accelerate inflammation and disease of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which commonly leads to heart disease and failure. Wounded oral tissues, like bleeding gums, can offer oral bacteria a path into your bloodstream, and experts believe that when P. gingivalis travels to other areas of your body, the inflammation that marks its presence can damage those tissues and organs, as well.

Your Oral Health is in Good Hands with Your Lafayette Dentist

Even if you don’t fall within traditional high-risk demographics for heart disease and other systemic illnesses, neglecting your oral health care and maintenance can impact your chances of developing other health troubles. To learn more about the importance of good oral health, schedule an appointment with your Lafayette dentist by calling Dr. Young at (337) 237-6453. Located in the 70508 area, we proudly serve patients from Lafayette and all surrounding communities.