SARS. Ebola. Swine flu. All of these extremely scary topics have filled the pages of newspapers in recent years. Turn on the news on any given evening, and you’ll probably learn about a new threat to your health. It would seem that this negative news is everywhere.
But curiously absent from the headlines and hyperbole, is a legitimate epidemic. In this country, millions of people suffer from gum disease. Many, if not most, may not know they are even suffering from it.
We love using this blog from the Antoine Dental Center in Houston, TX, to give you tips on whitening your teeth, or preventing cavities. But today, we’re going to look at something far more frightening. We want to tell you about some aspects of gum disease you may not realize. Recent medical studies have shown a potential link between gum disease and heart disease, as well as whole host of other maladies.
The Epidemic No One is Talking About
Despite the lack of coverage from the mainstream media, a quick glance at the statistics show gum disease to be something of an epidemic in this country. A shocking number of Americans -actually the vast majority of the adult population- suffer from gum disease. That’s tens of millions of people in this country.
But if seven out of ten Americans have gum disease, why isn’t this subject being reported on by the news media? Medical journals have covered the topic for decades, listing the articles under gum disease’s more technical names like periodontitis or periodontal disease. Mainstream coverage of gum disease seems to suffer from several common misconceptions about gum disease.
The most common misconception about gum disease is that it is not a serious problem. Patients often think of it as something that causes their gums to bleed a bit when they brush, and nothing else. The truth is that gum disease can progress into a really aggressive disorder. It can cause infections that leave nasty pockets of fluid in your mouth. It can also cause your teeth to fall out.
The well-researched complications of gum disease are scary enough. But new research from top research universities is even more frightening. This terrifying research indicates that there may be a link between gum disease and fatal or life-threatening conditions.
Gum Disease and Fatal Illnesses
The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson died at a relatively young age from a heart attack. In recent years, heart disease is killing more and more Americans. About two thousand a day, and nine hundred thousand a year. It is the leading cause of early death in the United States.
But why are we concerned about heart attacks in a dental health blog? Because of the new research on gum disease that lands on our desk every month. Most recently, we were perusing a report from the American Academy of Periodontology. The report concluded that Americans with gum disease were more than twice as likely to come down with heart disease, as those without.
If it was just one study showing a correlation between gum disease and other maladies, we could probably dismiss it. But it’s not the only study. Other research from Columbia University also showed an increased risk of diabetes for Americans with gum disease. It also showed an occurrence rate of about two to one.
We urge you not ignore these reports. It’s true that correlation does not always show causation. But why even take the risk? If preventing gum disease can lower your chance of life-threatening illnesses, isn’t it something you should consider?
Make An Appointment
Both the prevention and treatment of gum disease begins at our office. Have you had an appointment in the last six months? Click here to make an appointment at the Antoine Dental Center in Houston, TX.