Associates of Dental Arts
Dr. Gregory Kivett

Proper Dental Care Protects the Entire Body

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Infections in the mouth can put yourself and those around you at risk of secondary infections. When you have a healthy immune system it is easy to ignore the effects gum disease has on your body as a whole but more and more research points to the fact that abscessed teeth and gum infections have a systemic effect on the body. A study published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) again highlights the systemic effect of oral infection by looking at patients in ICU.

Infections in other parts of the body can start from infections in the mouth. In the study, patients in the ICU that received advanced dental care were 56 percent less likely to get a respiratory tract infection. That is a huge reduction and shows a direct relationship between oral health and whole body health.

So what does it mean for healthy people? If you have periodontal disease or an abscessed tooth you may experience any number of symptoms such as bad breath, bleeding gums and pain to name a few. However, your immune system should be able to protect you from getting any secondary infections. But what if your immune system is weakened? Stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol and dehydration can all cause you to have a weakened immune system. So unless you are never going to have stressful times in your life or periods when you are not going to get enough sleep, you have a greater risk of getting sick if you have untreated gum or tooth infections. You can also transmit periodontal disease causing bacteria to people around you so if you know anyone that has a compromised immune system then they are at risk because of your untreated periodontal disease.

Treating periodontal disease and abscessed teeth is relatively easy and the benefits to yourself and those around you is too great to ignore. LANAP laser gum surgery offers a new way to treat gum disease that is relatively pain free. If you have symptoms of gum disease or think you may have an abscessed tooth call your dentist today and get it checked. Your body and your loved ones will thank you.

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