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Dental Health and Your Body: 1800Dentist.com

Dental health and general well being is not necessarily a given. The process typically involves the efforts of an individual in regards to eating a healthy diet, exercising, minimizing vices (tobacco and alcohol consumption) and practicing good oral hygiene as how well a person takes care of their mouth will directly impact the health of their entire body.

Despite the medical and insurance industries being broken down into two basic categories of general health (overseen by doctors) and oral health (headed up by dentists) in real life there is no clear-cut division of areas in the body. Instead, the entire body including flesh, blood, organs, bones and teeth are forever intertwined and practicing oral hygiene is essential to ensure that all systems are a go.

Oral hygiene is an essential part of the dental care and general well-being equation. When humans consume food, trace elements of sugars are deposited on teeth. When that happens, oral bacteria start their process of breaking down those particles even further. When they do, the bacteria will produce a tooth decaying bacteria as a side effect of their handiwork and oral bacteria will band together to form dental plaque. When left unchecked, the latter can cause a myriad of dental problems (such as tartar buildup, halitosis, dental abscesses and potentially tooth loss). Because of the mouth/body connection, the oral cavity is not the only part of the body that can be negatively impacted.

Dental Health and Dementia

Dementia (the loss of cognitive ability) is disease typically associated with aging. Those burden with the condition will show signs of diminished memory, attention, language and problem solving over a half a year period. No matter if the dementia is linked to Alzheimer' Disease or another condition, research has found that early tooth loss is an indicator that shows an increased risk of developing the illness.

The findings were published in October 2007's Journal of the American Dental Association. Researchers had that individuals who lost more teeth before their 35 birthday had a greater risk of being impacted by the brain diminishing disease than their counterparts with healthy smiles. At the time, the scientists could not conclude that losing teeth caused dementia, but there was no denying the correlation between the two.


Dental Health and the Lungs

Research published in the Journal of Periodontology showed a direct link between periodontal disease and lung disease including pneumonia and acute bronchitis. The study focused in on 200 group participants between the ages 20 and 60 with at least 20 natural teeth. Half of the group was hospitalized with respiratory disease (including pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or acute bronchitis) and half were healthy. All study participants went under a through oral exams and it was found that those with the respiratory infections had diminished periodontal health than healthy study participants (http://www.perio.org/consumer/healthy-lungs.htm).

Once again the dental health/body connection was clearly observed, but more research is needed to fully define the relationship. Until that information is released, consumers should practice oral hygiene to keep oral health intact and lower the risk of developing lung related illnesses such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Dental Health and Diabetes

Six hundred people participated in this study and researches focused their energy on the 530 individuals who reported having high-risk diabetic factors (IE family history of the disease, obesity, high cholesterol or hypertension). Group participants were provide with a thorough periodontal exam, point-of-care hemoglobin A1c test and were required to undertake a fasting plasma glucose test to determine if they had any symptoms of diabetes (http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/scope/news/region/usa/id/5265).

In the United States, diabetes (a common endocrine system disorder) is the seventh leading cause of death. Research conducted at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine where researchers linked the number of missing teeth in study participants with the percentage of deep periodontal pockets. Using that information, dentists could easily determine patients were walking around with either pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Although researchers have proved the correlation between oral health and conditions such as dementia, lung disease and diabetes only time (and more scientific efforts) will show the full scope of the issue. Until then, individuals are strongly encouraged to practice daily oral hygiene of brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque and reduce the odds of any illness from developing. Those who need to find a dentist simply need to call 1-800-DENTIST, 24/7 to get the name of a great dental care provider close to home.

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