June is Men’s Health Month and a great time to schedule a routine cleaning and examination with one of our experienced Denver dentists. Oral health is often overlooked in discussions about systemic health – as if the two things were somehow separate. But the truth is, oral health and systemic health are intricately linked, with each impacting the other in surprising ways.
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is more prevalent in men than in women. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men account for 56.4% of gum disease cases. For many men, this presents as gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is marked by red or swollen gum tissue that bleeds easily when brushed or scraped.
Gingivitis is easy to treat. In fact, many cases of this common oral health problem can be treated with a deep cleaning and more attention paid to your at-home routine. To fully treat gingivitis and prevent its recurrence, you must be committed to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once, and visiting our office every six months for professional cleanings. The addition of an antibacterial mouthwash may also be recommended, but this is different for each patient and, because mouthwash can also be harmful to oral health, should only be used when directed.
When left untreated, gingivitis will advance to periodontitis – and at this point, gum disease will begin posing serious health risks as well. Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Chronic bad breath
- Persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Pus in between the teeth
- Gums pulling away from the roots of teeth
- Tooth loss
Oral health issues linked to periodontitis include jaw necrosis (bone death) which can result in a loss of bone in and around the jaw. This will result in facial collapse and shrinkage as skin adjusts to a loss of structural volume. Once lost, bone grafting will be necessary to rebuild those portions of the jaw.
Systemic Health and Gum Disease
In addition to jaw shrinkage and collapse, periodontitis is linked to a number of serious and potentially fatal systemic disorders and disease. Among these are:
- Heart attack and stroke
- Kidney and liver failure
- Esophageal cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Dementia and Alzheimers
When a bacterial infection from the gums enters the bloodstream, bacteria can travel throughout the body with little to no impediment. This allows these bacteria to infect other parts of the body, increasing risks for a number of long-term health issues. Smokers and men who use alcohol excessively are at heightened risk, but anyone can develop gum disease if his oral hygiene routine is lacking.
This Men’s Health Month, detecting and treating gum disease may prove as important for your longevity as adopting a healthier diet and more progressive exercise routine. When committing to better health, truly commit. Take time this month to consider how all of your body’s systems work symbiotically – and take steps to protect each of these as they perform their individual and collective functions.
To schedule a cleaning and examination at DeWitt Dental Associates, please call 303-321-5656 and schedule your consultation today. Located in Cherry Creek, we serve men and women living throughout the Metro Denver area.