Prof. Linda Mallen
Due Date: 4/17/13
The Effect of Gum Disease on Human Health.
People think the way to have a charming smile is to have white teeth. However, that is not all there is to have good oral health. Healthy gum tissue also is an important part of tooth structure which enables our healthy bright smile. Healthy gums aren’t just important for your oral health, but they can also be important for your overall health. Numerous research studies suggest that other long-term, chronic health conditions can be associated with periodontal diseases, a gum disease. Most studies suggest a possible link between periodontal diseases to other more serious chronic health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy complications. The most common type of gum diseases is gingivitis which is a mild form of infection of gum. According to Marian Mehegan, DDS, a regional women’s health coordinator, gingivitis causes red, swollen gums, and it can also make the gums bleed easily. This form of gum disease does not lead to loss of bone or tissue around the teeth. However, in a prolonged untreated period, it can become a periodontitis (Womenshealth.gov). Based on PubMed Health, the US National Library of Medicine, periodontitis is defined as an inflammation and an infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth). Periodontitis occurs when resulting inflammation or infection of the gums is untreated or treatment is delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. As a result, the teeth become loose and eventually fall out. One of the most chronic health conditions like to problem with healthy gum is heart disease. For a century the idea of a link between oral health and the heart has been around. But it's only been in the last 20 years that some health professionals have taken this link seriously enough to recommend dental care as a way of reducing the risk of heart disease. They believe that there is a connection between serious gum disease and cardiovascular condition. According to Dr. Kevin Marzo, Chief of Cardiology at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York, "The bacteria that cause dental plaque may promote inflammation in the body beyond the mouth including the lining of the blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease including heart attacks,"(Cbsnews.com). In the same way, the scientists believe there is a connection between gum disease and atherosclerosis which causes heart disease. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of arteries due to the buildup of fatty deposits on the lining of artery walls. It causes high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary thrombosis (Dictionary of Medicine 24). According to the Fox news interviewed with Dr. Peter Lockhart, a professor of oral medicine at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C, there are two main theories are thought to explain how gum disease could contribute to coronary heart disease. One proposes that bacteria, which grow between your teeth and cause plaque to build-up, can enter the bloodstream when your gum starts bleeding, which happens easily if you have gum disease. For example, mouth bacteria can enter the bloodstream during dental procedure and by tooth brushing. Once in the blood stream, these organisms attach to pre-existing fatty deposits in coronary arteries (those that supply blood to the heart). This leads to inflammation, which may cause blood clots that can decrease blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. The second theory proposes these oral bacteria of gum disease cause the body to develop antibodies that attack receptors on the cells lining the blood vessels and cause an inflammatory reaction. This inflammation may play a role in the further development of fatty deposits lining the artery walls that can cause blockages (Foxnews.com/health). However, the evidence supporting the...
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