Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Does Dental Health Relate to Overall Health?

Prevention is the best medicine to fight periodontitis, a gum disease that you can ward off with natural remedies.

Woman smiling
By taking care of your teeth and gums, you're taking care of your whole body.

Oral health impacts the entire body. Perhaps of the greatest significance is periodontal disease, which can both contribute to and be caused by systemic inflammation.

Periodontitis often begins with gingivitis and leads to destruction of ligaments and bone surrounding the teeth and ultimately tooth loss. Periodontitis generally involves the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, which feed on plaque or other toxins in the mouth, possibly including metals released from amalgam fillings.

Smokers, diabetics and obese persons are at increased risk of developing periodontitis, as are those with immune defiency. Additional factors include poor oral hygiene, advancing age and oral colonization with certain types of bacteria. Psychosocial (stress), genetic and socioeconomic status may also contribute to one’s risk.

Individuals with periodontitis have a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including atherosclerosis and stroke, diabetes mellitus and respiratory diseases. Successful treatment of periodontitis can reduce cardiac risk markers such as C-reactive protein and elevated lipids. There is some association with periodontitis and the development of osteoporosis, as well as the initiation and progression of rheumatoid arthritis.

In pregnancy, periodontitis is associated with an increased risk of preterm low-birthweight deliveries, gestational diabetes and possibly preeclampsia. In the elderly, it is associated with cognitive impair and unwanted weight loss. There is some evidence that suggests periodontitis increases the risk of certain types of cancer.

Given the significant health risks associated with periodontal disease, prevention is the best medicine. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of development of periodontal disease, or its progression:

  • Reduce plaque buildup through regular brushing, flossing and cleanings.
  • Reduce causes of inflammation such as proinflammatory foods, excessive carbohydrate consumption, alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use.
  • Enhance beneficial oral flora with probiotic foods and supplements.
  • Remove toxins and unwanted bacteria with detoxifying and antimicrobial herbs and through the Ayurvedic practice of oil-pulling.
  • Provide targeted nutritional therapy to oral tissues, through flavonoid-rich foods such as berries and green tea, omega-3 essential fatty acids, chewable coenzyme Q10 and folic acid (if there is deficiency.)
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

For suggestions tailored to your unique situation, make an appointment at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health by calling (206) 834-4100.

Bridget Grusecki, ND, naturopathic physician and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

More Health Tips

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Here's how to create a healthy posture to improve your health.

The main benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes eating whole, nutritious foods while avoiding refined, processed foods.

While tax season can be daunting and stressful, these are simple, easy ways to help lighten the load.

Behind the calm exterior of a doula is a person who is constantly thinking, strategizing and endeavoring to create an environment to support a pregnant, birthing or postpartum family.

With the recent buzz about gluten- and wheat-free diets, it’s good to know how they compare and if they’re right for everyone.

Events

Apr 21 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 22 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 23 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Recent News

David Tolmie, BS ('06), MLIS, combines psychology and technology skills to help students navigate the fast-changing world of evidence-informed medicine.

Coquina Deger, MBA, and David Siebert fill key roles as part of President’s Cabinet

Herbal sciences students cook up foods with love -- and health-giving herbs -- in a popular lab class.

The actor and author joins us for a Q-and-A before her May 22 talk at Bastyr's Spring for Health Luncheon.

Spring 2014: There is a lot blossoming at Bastyr University

Press

Bastyr University Nutrition Faculty Member Receives Prestigious State Honor

The public is invited to a free community event to explore Bastyr University’s teaching clinic

Teaching clinic earns second consecutive year of stellar results in regional patient satisfaction survey

In the Media

FOX Q13: Bastyr University's Ellie Freeman Discusses the FDA’s New Food Labels
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter: Bastyr Center for Natural Health Expands Integrative Oncology Services
Puget Sound Business Journal: Bastyr University's President Daniel Church to Retire