Dentist in Atlanta Explains Oral-Systemic Health Connection

By Dr. Brett Silverman | Oct 26, 2023 | General Oral Care
Dentist in Atlanta Explains Oral-Systemic Health Connection

Everything you put in your mouth has direct access to your body’s systems. In addition, bad bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect overall health. Research shows how the mouth and body are intricately woven together. 

If your oral health isn’t up to par, or if you have gum disease, call on your dentist in Atlanta, Dr. Brett Silverman or Dr. Darrell Morton, to restore your optimal oral health. At Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, you’ll enjoy the latest dental technology, techniques, and treatments, delivered with compassion and care.

Today’s blog will review the oral-systemic health connection, its impact on the body, and how to restore good oral health for better overall health. Read this article in its entirety to learn about:

  • Systemic health conditions linked to oral health
  • Periodontal disease
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Diabetes and gum disease
  • Cardiovascular disease and oral health
  • Your comprehensive oral evaluation

Systemic Health Conditions Linked to Oral Health

The American Academy of Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) lists these conditions as related to poor oral health and bad bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth. This list is not exclusive. Research being conducted right now is proving additional conditions associated with poor oral health and gum disease.

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney complications
  • Respiratory issues
  • Severe COVID complications
  • Diabetes and diabetes complications
  • Heart/cardiovascular disease
  • Cancers
  • Organ damage
  • Obesity
  • Prostate and erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Low-weight births
  • Preterm births
  • Stillbirths
  • Knee replacement surgery complications
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease. Up to 80% of adults in the USA suffer from gum disease. It’s the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which if ignored advances to periodontitis, and then acute periodontitis. If you notice the following oral health symptoms, call Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry to schedule a comprehensive oral health exam with our reputable and experienced dentist in Atlanta.

Gingivitis: Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender gums that bleed when brushing teeth, along with bad breath. Symptoms may be mild, even unnoticed by the patient at first, but they worsen as gum disease progresses.

Periodontitis: Symptoms include those of gingivitis, plus pus at the gumline, pain when chewing, and spaces like black triangles at the gumline between teeth. Patients may notice that when their mouth is closed, teeth don’t fit together like they previously did. Gums also detach from teeth, so teeth look longer.

Advanced/acute Periodontitis: Gum tissue dies. Jawbone tissue can also die. Teeth loosen, then fall out. At this stage, surgery is necessary to restore gum health. Teeth can then be replaced with a bridge, partial, denture, or in qualifying cases, implants.

Systemic Inflammation

Gum disease involves 30 species of bad bacteria that produce endotoxins. The endotoxins, scientists believe, may cause systemic disease. A study published on ScienceDirect.com more intricately explains this connection.

Periodontal bacteria cause systemic issues when it triggers the body’s inflammatory response and low-grade systemic inflammation. This affects changes in bone marrow that can lead to chronic inflammatory diseases. 

How It Happens

Systemic inflammation puts the immune system on high alert, a proinflammatory state. Issues like infection, stress, and chronic diseases also place the body in a proinflammatory state. Research shows that cytokines in the proinflammatory state contribute to pathological pain. In short, this means the patient may have an amplified response to pain.

Additionally, the bad bacteria can cause gut dysbiosis, which launches heartburn, bloating, gas, cramping, constipation, and/or diarrhea. Gut dysbiosis is also associated with issues like acne, chronic fatigue, and a poor immune system. 

The good news is, your dentist in Atlanta, Drs. Silverman and Morton, provide a complete periodontal program to eliminate pockets of infection at the gum line; reduce bad bacteria in the mouth; smooth teeth roots to reduce rough ledges where bacteria collect on teeth roots. A deep periodontal cleaning promotes healing and reattachment of gum tissue to teeth. Successful periodontal treatment reduces the risk of developing related systemic health issues.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

The correlation between diabetes and gum disease is cyclical. Diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease due to a decrease in the function of immune cells. On the flip side, gum disease contributes to the development and symptoms of diabetes. According to the AAOSH, diabetics who have gum disease are 6 times more likely to have issues with glycemic control. Stress hormones released due to gum infection promote insulin resistance. As a result, glucose levels increase.

Here’s more good news: “Good oral hygiene can protect a Type 2 diabetic patient from the progression of diabetes,” according to the AAOSH.

If you have diabetes, tell your dentists in Atlanta. We want to help you enjoy good oral health, as well as good overall health.

Cardiovascular Disease and Oral Health

Cardiovascular disease affects 83.6 million adults in America. The overarching term “cardiovascular disease” (CVD) actually covers six types of heart disease:

  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular heart disease
  • Inflammatory heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis

How It Happens

Bad bacteria from periodontal disease enter the bloodstream through the mouth. The bacteria cause systemic inflammation, which results in damage to the blood vessel lining. Gum disease causes insulin resistance by triggering proinflammatory mediators. This, in turn, results in damage to arteries and the development of cardiovascular disease.

Did You Know?

The only known disease to increase LpPla2 is gum disease. LpPla2 causes the progression of cardiovascular disease by increasing plaque vulnerability. Arterial plaque then causes a cardiac event, by blocking blood flow to the heart. We know this as a heart attack.

Dentist in Atlanta Offers Comprehensive Oral Evaluation

Your dentist in Atlanta, Dr. Silverman or Dr. Morton, along with our team of talented hygienists, conduct a thorough periodontal exam during checkups and cleanings. You should attend a preventive checkup and cleaning every six months, per the American Dental Association. In addition to checking for gum disease, the dentists will evaluate for oral cancer and other harmful conditions. With x-rays, your exam results, and your health history, your dentist will determine an effective treatment plan to restore optimal oral health, as well as comfortable function.

Call Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Atlanta today at 678-737-8971 today!