I’m not saying that you should cancel your next dental checkup, but we need to start viewing oral health from the context of a whole body approach.
Lest the dentists out there remove themselves from my email list, the relationship goes both ways–good oral health is also required for good overall health.
So let’s start with the looking at some of the diseases have been associated with poor oral health:
- Heart disease tops the list. Any form of chronic inflammation (like periodontal disease) damages the heart. Period.
- Pre term birth (yes–chronic inflammation is not good here, either).
- Tooth loss increases pancreatic cancer risk 63%.
Here’s where the story gets scarier–in a recent blog article (that can be read by clicking here), I pointed out a study that found that an alarming percentage of the population (well over 50%) had signs of gingivitis.
Clearly we have an issue as it relates to oral health in this country. So where do we start to turn it around?
Regular dental care, daily brushing (I personally like my Sonicare), daily flossing and regular tongue scraping (I’m a big fan of tongue scraping–the best tongue scrapers can be found at BreathRx).
I do, however, have concerns over antibacterial mouthwashs. I think there is mounting research that killing off even the good bacteria in our mouth leads to problems like high blood pressure.
All of this brings us to this particular study. Researchers looked across multiple studies to examine the association between prediabetes / metabolic syndrome and periodontitis. Overally, they found that, in those people who were prediabetic (and let’s face it–that’s well over half of you out there….), he or she was 209% more likely to also have periodontitis.
Wow–that’s a pretty strong association. And while the researchers were unclear about whether the prediabetes caused the dental problems or whether the dental problems contributed to prediabetes, it doesn’t really matter from a practical standpoint. It most likely works both ways.
Overall, this means that good oral health has to include an anti-diabetic lifestyle. My recommendations can be found by clicking here, or, better yet, sign up for the Rantings and get the full ebook for free by clicking here.