Lately, numerous amounts of questions have arisen on the topic concerning the connection between oral health and overall health. Does the former really affect the latter? How is someone possibly at risk for heart disease or low birth weight babies if the apparent problem is only in his/her mouth?

Our bodies are not a jumble of different mechanisms forming one walking, talking unit. Each of the body’s systems — the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, etc. — work in unison to keep us living in steady homeostasis! If one system fails or malfunctions, it gradually leads to another system losing its ability to function properly, and it spirals downward from there.

Inflamed parts of your body can lead to further inflammation or infection in other parts. Periodontitis is the body’s response to harmful bacteria left in your mouth. Periodontitis — ahem gum disease, if severe enough and untreated long enough, will, in fact, set off other inflammatory mechanisms in your body, leading to such things as diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, and preterm and low birth weight babies. And gum disease is common — it can happen to anyone.

Don’t ignore the significance of this link. Good oral hygiene is serious!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

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