1935 E. Battlefield St, Suite A.
Springfield, MO 65804

Oral health connections

The Systemic Connection
What do heart disease, diabetes, stroke, preterm or low weight births, COPD, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis all have in common?  Considering you are reading this in a dental article, I hope you guessed that it has something to do with teeth or gums. The last several years have seen an ever increasing number of studies showing a link between oral health and overall systemic health, including suggestions of a possible link with each of those mentioned above. If it wasn’t enough motivation to maintain your oral health for the sake of your teeth and gums alone, there are now multiple reasons involving the rest of your body to do so. Periodontal disease (gum disease) has two things associated with it that can lead to connections with all of these other diseases. One, gingiva (gums) bleed easily. Just like an open wound elsewhere on the body allowing for bacterial contamination, your gingiva can allow bacteria in your mouth to enter the bloodstream. Once there, it can go anywhere in the body, including your lungs – hence the COPD connection. Periodontal disease also has inflammation associated with it. No matter where the bacteria are located, your body has defenses against them, your white blood cells. White blood cells release chemicals that create the inflammatory response. Not all of the response is limited to just the specific area in question. Just like the bacteria circulating in your blood, these other chemicals are too. Inflammation can damage tissues, hence the possibility that periodontal disease may cause or at least contribute to those diseases mentioned above. Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients have a higher incidence of gum disease. When that disease is successfully treated, these patients report a decrease in joint swelling and pain. Periodontal disease is associated with a 400% increase in a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Diabetes is a double edged sword. Inflammation increases the body’s level of C-reactive protein in the blood; high levels of it promote insulin resistance – diabetes.  Diabetics are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease, one feeding off of the other. Control periodontal disease and blood sugar is likely to decrease. Bleeding gums may even signal that you are diabetic. Gum disease may end up being a bigger risk for heart problems than smoking is. For more information on any of these connections, visit mouthhealthy.com



1935 E. Battlefield St, Suite A
Springfield, MO 65804

Two Blocks East of the Mall

Call for an appointment 417-889-5200

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Hours of operation

  • Monday : 10:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday : 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday : 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Thursday : 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Friday : By Special Arrangement Only
  • Saturday : Closed
  • Sunday : Closed
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