As you itemize your goals for the year, remember to place your dental checkup at the top of your list. Scientists have confirmed a correlation between dental health and the health of the entire physical body, and they refer to this occurrence as the mouth body connection. They’ve found that the three dominant strains of bacteria associated with gum infections, or periodontitis, are able to pass into the body through cardioid arteries that run down the sides of the neck and travel throughout our blood steam and wreak havoc throughout the body.
Periodontitis and the Red Complex
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammation of the supportive tissues that surround the teeth. Over time, the offending bacteria are capable of devouring the connective tissue and bone around the teeth, causing the gums to recede. These aggressive bacteria can also cause problems throughout the sinus cavity and even effect brain function, bringing about the onset of dementia. The bacteria responsible for this sequence of events are referred to as the Red Complex. Their technical names are:
- Porphyromonas gingivalis
- Tannerella forsythia
- Treponema denticola
The cardioid arteries carry Red Complex bacteria directly to the heart, and infected blood is then pumped to the entire body. It follows that the association between dental infections and illnesses throughout the body was detected first in the heart, and warnings were issued throughout the industry that gum disease could cause heart disease. Over the last decade, researchers have discovered Red Complex bacteria in virtually every organ of their subjects who struggle with periodontitis, and these consuming and clumping bacteria instigate and contribute to a variety of critical and chronic conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Pancreatic cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other bone and joint problems
Furthermore, Red Complex bacteria have been noted to instigate complications for:
Pregnant women, resulting in premature birth and low birth weight of their infants
Treatment of diabetes
Periodontal Disease and the Heart
Blockages in the heart and its veins and arteries, also known as Atherosclerosis, have been found to contain clumps of Red Complex bacteria along with white blood cells that are defending the body against the bacteria and mucus that results from the battle. These blood vessel blockages often lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, and other problems depending upon the location of the obstruction.
Periodontal Disease and Stroke
An artery in the brain that becomes clogged with clumps of Red Complex bacteria can lead to a stroke. There is a danger that the vein or artery can develop excessive pressure behind the clog and eventually burst.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Those with diabetes and periodontal disease are faced with a delicate situation. Research has shown that high blood sugar inhibits the body’s ability to fight infections, and conversely, periodontal disease reduces the body’s ability to utilize glucose in the blood, resulting in challenged blood-sugar control.
It’s encouraging to note that diligent attention to dental health can enhance the body’s ability to ward off infections and contribute to a secure foundation of health that will enable you to achieve the goals on your list of resolutions.