Think Dentures Are An Easy Solution To Oral Problems?

Posted on May 27, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Dentures always seem like such a simple solution to oral problems. They’re not. Research has shown that adults who are totally edentulous (missing all of their natural teeth) die at an age that is ten years earlier, on average, than those who have their natural teeth. Research also indicates a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

A new study links fewer teeth and bleeding gums with a range of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Poor dental hygiene and bleeding gums could allow up to 700 different types of bacteria to penetrate the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, this bacteria can increase heart attack risk regardless of how fit and healthy the adult is otherwise.

Studies have shown that an individual’s number of natural teeth affects their potential for systemic inflammation. A Swedish study of over 15,000 adults showed that the fewer teeth remaining, the higher the levels were of an enzyme that increases inflammation and promotes hardening of the arteries.

Along with higher cardiac risk, few teeth was related to higher cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and waist circumference. Those with fewer teeth also had greater chance of having diabetes. However, it’s not just keeping your natural teeth. Your gum health plays a significant role as well.

Initial signs of gum disease are bad breath and sore, bleeding gums. If untreated, plaque build-up on teeth can result in cavities, receded gums and tooth loss. While bleeding gums are associated with higher levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing the risk of developing heart disease can occur through periodontal treatment and regular dental check-ups.

As a Periodontist, it is my commitment to stay current on the latest findings surrounding the correlation between oral health and overall health connections. I am aware of the dire importance of saving natural teeth to one’s overall health that much of our population lacks, unfortunately. Although it may seem ‘easier’ to have teeth removed or cheaper to avoid dental visits, the long-term health repercussions will eventually emerge in costly ways — physically, emotionally and monetarily.

When your mouth is healthy, teeth and gums are easy to keep in good shape through a committed home care regimen and regular dental check-ups – all simple and affordable steps. For those who are contemplating dentures to ‘solve’ their dental problems, here’s my advice: Ask someone who has worn dentures for over ten years, if they could go back in time, would they have made more effort to keep their natural teeth?

Call us at (828) 274-9440 to begin on your path to a healthy smile.

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