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Pacific Coast Smiles | Oral-Systemic Connection in Santa Maria

General and Cosmetic Dentistry

426 E. Barcellus

Suites 101 & 102
Santa Maria , CA 93454
(805) 925-8767

Oral-Systemic Connection
 

It has been reported that 3 out of every 4 Americans have signs of mild periodontal disease or gingivitis.  Almost 30% show signs of the more severe disease, chronic periodontitis. We now have reason to believe that the health of your teeth and gums may have a significant effect on the overall health of your body.  Recent scientific literature suggests a strong relationship between oral disease and other systemic diseases and medical conditions.

According to numerous studies, there are three ways oral disease may affect your overall health.  First, bacteria from your gums enter the saliva. From the saliva it may adhere to water droplets within the air you inhale each time you breathe.  These bacteria laden water droplets may be aspirated into the lungs, potentially causing pulmonary infection and pneumonia. This can be very troublesome for the elderly or those who may suffer from generalized weakened immunity, associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A new paradigm between dentistry and medicine is now developing regarding patient care.  As the oral systemic connection is more clearly understood, dentists who are trained in diagnosing oral and periodontal disease will play a greater role in the overall health of their patients.  Many times, the first signs of unnatural systemic health conditions reveal themselves in changes within the oral cavity. Medical histories should be carefully reviewed when “at risk” patients are identified.  A comprehensive Periodontal Risk Evaluation should be performed and results should be sent to the patient’s treating physician(s).


The most significant areas identified to-date to have a suspected oral systemic connection are: 

- Cardiovascular Disease 

- Pulminary Disease

- Fetal Development

- Diabetes

- Orthopedic Implant Failure

- Kidney Disease 


In all of the above mentioned medical conditions, oral bacteria and periodontal disease are suspected contributing factors.  In some cases, it may be the periodontal pathogenic bacteria or their associated cytokines that are the culprits.  In other cases, it may be the secondary inflammatory response within the body that may initiate or aggravate an underlying medical condition.  Whatever the pathway, it is imperative that patients understand periodontal disease, and how it may be treated or prevented.