A recent article from CNN featured a study that linked the risk of early death in women with periodontal disease. The report found that the loss of natural teeth from gum disease is associated with a 17% higher risk of early death, according to Michael J. LaMonte, lead author of the study and a research associate professor at the University at Buffalo. This highlights the fact that our oral health affects and is an indicator of our overall health. Researcher LaMonte also said, “How many teeth you have in your mouth at a given point in time is more of a broad reflection of your overall, cumulative health status.”
Gum Disease and Health Problems
Periodontitis (the severest form of gum disease) and tooth loss are associated in many different studies with the following chronic conditions:
- high blood pressure,
- lung disease.
The last item is believed to be connected with the fact that smokers tend to have a higher incidence of gum disease due to the irritating effects of smoke on the oral tissues. This highlights the fact that while gum disease may not be causing early death, it is often present when people die at a younger age than expected.
This was explained by Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who said the new study “suggests gum disease and tooth loss is a marker for overall lack of health and, as a result, death.” He agreed that the study connected a lack of proper oral care and “multiple untreated risk factors for heart disease, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.” Basically, the doctors are saying that poor oral health is generally a sign of other problems caused by negative lifestyle habits.
The article also stresses the importance of oral health screening by primary care physicians, especially for older patients. When they find issues, then the help of dentists, like those at the Sacramento Dentistry Group, are required. Our entire staff encourages all patients to commit to better health, starting with quality oral care. Always remember that you have the power to influence your life for the better!