Gum Disease and Risks to Overall Health


The founder of the Mayo Health Clinic, Dr. Charles Mayo, has been quoted as saying: “Taking care of your teeth and gums can increase your life-expectancy by 10 years.” The team at Fulbright Cosmetic and Reconstructive Dentistry wholeheartedly agrees. The evidence and correlations between gum disease and serious medical problems keep mounting , and the results are alarming. Gum disease and other oral diseases produce chronic low-grade inflammation in the body, which greatly increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, sleep apnea, liver and kidney diseases, cancer, and many other conditions. This systemic inflammation is sometimes referred to as the “Secret Killer,” as it has such a detrimental effect on numerous systems of the body. Bacteria in the mouth has been found in arteries as well as many other organs. One strain of oral bacteria, P. Gingivalis, looks like it may be stimulating fatty deposits that line the arteries, which can speed up heart disease. When present, P. gingivalis raises the risk for a heart attack by 13.6 times – that’s twice the risk of a heavy smoker. Gum disease is as big a risk as high blood pressure for strokes. There is a simple saliva test that can identify the type and amount of bacteria strains present.

It’s important to understand the seriousness of gum disease and the risks it can pose to your overall health; however, the good news is that gum disease can be treated and gum health can be restored and maintained. Our office is highly trained in the oral systemic health connection and look at the mouth as the gateway to TOTAL body health. As advocates for your overall wellness, we will be checking many health standards. We check for healthy teeth, healthy gums, healthy bite/mouth/jaw, healthy tooth alignment, healthy sleep, and healthy habits. We look at your medical history, your family history, medications you may be taking, your nutrition habits, and lifestyle habits. We have blood testing and saliva testing available to determine which bacteria are present, micronutrient status, and inflammation present. Our office has made your overall health our top priority.

Remember, while bleeding and inflamed gums, gum recession, loose teeth, and other symptoms are often big warning signs that gum disease is present, some people may not have any symptoms at all. Even the most rigorous home oral health care routines are sometimes not enough to stop the development of gum disease. This makes it vital to schedule regular dental check-ups and teeth cleanings. Our team will thoroughly evaluate your oral health to determine whether gum disease is present in areas of the mouth that your toothbrush and dental floss can’t reach. If gum disease is identified, we can create a customized treatment plan designed to stop its progression, renew the health of your gums and, hopefully, prevent the risk of damage to your total body health.

Contact Dr. Michael Fulbright today for more information, or to schedule an appointment at our practice.