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Mouth - Body Connection

Research studies have shown that there is a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.

Periodontal disease is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gum tissue, periodontal infection below the gum line and a presence of disease-causing bacteria in the oral region.  Halting the progression of periodontal disease and maintaining excellent standards of oral hygiene will not only reduce the risk of gum disease and bone loss, but also reduce the chances of developing other serious illnesses.

Common cofactors associated with periodontal disease:

Diabetes

A research study has shown that individuals with pre-existing diabetic conditions are more likely to either have, or be more susceptible to periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels which makes controlling the amount of glucose in the blood difficult.  This factor alone can increase the risk of serious diabetic complications.  Conversely, diabetes thickens blood vessels and therefore makes it harder for the mouth to rid itself of excess sugar.  Excess sugar in the mouth creates a breeding ground for the types of oral bacteria that cause gum disease.

Heart Disease

There are several theories which explain the link between heart disease and periodontitis.  One such theory is that the oral bacteria strains which exacerbate periodontal disease attach themselves to the coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This in turn contributes to both blood clot formation and the narrowing of the coronary arteries, possibly leading to a heart attack.

A second possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease causes a significant plaque build up.  This can swell the arteries and worsen pre-existing heart conditions.  An article published by the American Academy of Periodontology suggests that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Pregnancy Complications

Women in general are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease because of hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.  Research suggests that pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia and delivering underweight, premature babies.

Periodontitis increases levels of prostaglandin, which is one of the labor-inducing chemicals.  Elevated levels prostaglandin may trigger premature labor, and increase the chances of delivering an underweight baby.  Periodontal disease also elevates C-reactive proteins (which have previously been linked to heart disease).  Heightened levels of these proteins can amplify the inflammatory response of the body and increase the chances of preeclampsia and low birth weight babies.

Respiratory Disease

Oral bacterium linked with gum disease has been shown to possibly cause or worsen conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  Oral bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and colonize, causing bacterial infections. Studies have shown that the repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis.

In addition to the bacterial risk, inflammation in gum tissue can lead to severe inflammation in the lining of the lungs, which aggravates pneumonia.  Individuals who suffer from chronic or persistent respiratory issues generally have low immunity.  This means that bacteria can readily colonize beneath the gum line unchallenged by body’s immune system.

If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and the mouth-body connection, please contact our office. We care about your overall health and your smile!

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Testimonials

I have been a patient of Dr. Moskowitz for more than twenty years. I have had the privilege of knowing his professional and courteous staff as well. They have also treated many members of my family including four of my grandchildren currently. Over the years I have been continually impressed with the modern office facilities. It is always clean and very well maintained. The staff is made up of many familiar faces, some have been there since I started with the practice. They are current and up to date on their professional knowledge and always create a comfortable atomosphere whether my visit is a routine cleaning or a tooth repair. I would highly recommend Dr. Moskowitz to any patient looking for a knowledgeable, caring and friendly dental office. I couldn't imagine leaving my dental care to any other.

Ron S. Marlboro, NJ

I can personally attest to the type of dental practice that is run by Dr. Moskowitz. I recently had a sledding accident in the middle of a blizzard which shifted my front tooth. Dr. Moskowitz immediately braved the storm to meet me in his office. When we arrived at the office there was no power so he began the successful repair of my tooth by flashlight. It is evident that Dr. Moskowitz is a high quality dentist who cares about his patients. He will go above and beyond what is expected of a family dental practice. All of the staff contributes to the warm, professional and personal experience each time I enter the office. My wife and three children all use this practice and we would not go anywhere else. I confidently and strongly recommend Dr. Moskowitz and all his office staff.

Jonathan R. Marlboro, NJ

I have been a patient of Dr. Moskowitz for many years. Dr. Moskowitz and his professional welcoming staff are fantastic. They are caring and sensitive and make you feel completely comfortable.

After a recent accident in which I required emergency dental work his experience, wisdom and knowledge along with a comprehensive high tech approach was extremely comforting. I have truly appreciated Dr. Moskowitz and his staff's kind compassionate care throughout my extensive procedures. Thank you Dr. Moskowitz for taking such great care of me!

Suzy J. Jackson, NJ

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