Good dental health = good overall health

National Smile Month 2013 is running until June 20 and throughout the campaign we’ve been posting key information about the importance of good dental health.

Today’s post focuses on important health issues highlighted in the campaign’s website.

The campaign – organised by The British Dental Health Foundation – makes it clear that poor oral health is not just about toothache and decay.

The organisers state: “It has a much wider impact on general bodily health than you may think. Research over the past decade has revealed growing evidence linking poor oral health to serious health conditions.”

Here are some of the conditions they’ve highlighted – and why dental health is so important.

Heart disease and heart attacks

Gum disease has been linked to many diseases and illnesses within the body, and research suggests an increased likelihood of suffering a heart attack being one of them. This is thought to be as a result of the bacteria from the mouth getting into the bloodstream. The bacteria then go on to produce protein, which can affect the heart by causing the platelets in the blood to stick together in the blood vessels of the heart, making clots more likely to form.

Blood clots can reduce normal blood flow, so that the heart does not get all the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a heart attack. As a result, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease as those without gum disease.

Strokes

New research suggests that gum disease carries a higher risk of causing a stroke than diabetes, and its impact is nearly the equivalent of high blood pressure as a major cause of strokes. People are twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal stroke as a result of gum disease, compared to diabetes. The data also suggests its impact is equivalent to people having high blood pressure.

New research is also suggestive that how much preventative dental care you have is linked to the chances of a stroke. Study participants who had ever had their teeth cleaned had a 24 per cent decreased risk of heart attack and a 13 per cent lower stroke risk compared to those who had never had a dental cleaning.

Not only did dental cleanings reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, protection from heart disease and stroke was more pronounced in participants who got tooth scaling at least once a year, meaning that the more often people had their teeth cleaned, the lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without it. This is probably because diabetics are more likely to get infections in general.

People who do not know they have diabetes, or whose diabetes is not under control, are especially at risk. If you do have diabetes it is important that any gum disease is diagnosed, because it can increase your blood sugar. This would put you at risk of diabetic complications.

Also, if you are diabetic, you may find that you heal more slowly. If you have a problem with your gums, or have problems after visits to your dentist, discuss this with your dentist before dental treatment.

New research has also shown that you are more likely to develop diabetes if you have gum disease.

Pregnancy and oral health

Pregnant women who have gum disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is premature and with a low birth weight. Research suggests bacteria in the oral cavity reaches the amniotic fluid via the bloodstream and can induce early labour. Research also suggests that women whose gum disease gets worse during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby.

Should you have any questions about this post or would like to contact our Glasgow dental clinic please call us on 0141 339 7579.

Dental nurse Kasia steps out for charity!

Best foot forward - Kasia prepares to take on the challenge.

Best foot forward – Kasia prepares to take on the challenge.

Our Glasgow clinic dental implant nurse Kasia Zawada has been putting in some training recently for a big charity challenge.

She took part in the Edinburgh Moon Walk which raises money for the Breast Cancer charity.

Kasia completed the 26 miles in seven hours – well done!

Here’s what she had to say:

“I had a great night with all the moonwalkers and supporters cheering us on.

“I think the event attracted about 4,000 participants this year.

“I did the full marathon 26.2 miles in 7 hours including having to wait a long time to queue for the toilet.

“Participants had the option of completing a lesser course of six or 13 miles.

“Some crazy walkers took on the challenge of two marathons back to back – more than 52 miles. They must be still out walking!

“When we started off at midnight it was cold and wet but it improved in the early hours and we had brilliant sunrise and a fresh sea breeze as we were walking along the coast.

“Not sure the total amount of money that will be raised but we were told before we started even walking we had raised half of million pound already!

“My partner Eric said i was overtaking everybody but when i reached 19 miles i started to be impatient and just wanted to finish quickly!

“It’s a great event and would do it again – and I’d recommend anybody to do the same. Roll on next year’s Moon Walk.”

For more information about the Moon Walk see this link.

If you have any questions about this blog or would like to find out more information about our Glasgow dental clinic please call 0141 339 7579.