As we all continue to come to terms with the best ways of staying healthy during the current pandemic, your natural dentist in Denver at the McGinty Dental Group wants to reinforce the importance of how underlying conditions can impact our health. Not only are individuals with underlying conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure more likely to experience severe complications if they contract the coronavirus, they also have a higher likelihood of developing gum disease and tooth loss.
Seniors with certain types of chronic conditions were significantly more likely to develop significant tooth loss when compared to adults with no underlying conditions, according to a recent analysis published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.
Spearheaded by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the results of this analysis once again reaffirmed the idea that our oral health reflects our overall health. Considering the risks our health faces due to the coronavirus, it’s even more important now than ever to have a healthy mouth.
The Risks of Underlying Conditions
As part of their study, researchers examined data collected from adults 50 and older who had participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers examined data collected as part of the NHNES during two different time periods – 1999 to 2004 and 2011 to 2016. Overall, the study reviewed the records of over 13,500 participants.
During the 2011 to 2016 period, of those participants who underwent a dental exam, 11 percent were completely toothless, 17 percent had experienced significant tooth loss, and 32 percent lacked enough teeth to properly chew or eat without assistance.
The prevalence of complete tooth loss and significant tooth loss was higher among older patients with other underlying health conditions when compared to seniors with no underlying conditions.
The study suggested that the prevalence of complete tooth loss was at least doubled in adults with fair to poor general health, heart disease, compromised lung function, or history of stroke.
Furthermore, the prevalence of severe tooth loss was at least 50 percent higher among adults with fair to poor general health who also dealt with conditions like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or stroke when compared to participants without any underlying conditions.
Finally, the lack of enough teeth to properly chew or eat was at least 50 percent more prevalent in participants who reported enjoying fair or poor general health, arthritis, or heat disease when compared to those without any underlying conditions.
Previous research has linked quality oral hygiene to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and stroke.
A Healthier Mouth Equals a Healthier Body
As discussions surrounding COVID-19 highlight the need for individuals with underlying conditions to take additional precautions to safeguard their health, it’s important to keep in mind the impact our oral health can have on our overall health.
As we’ve repeatedly covered in our McGinty Dental Group blog, poor oral health directly increases your risk for a variety of significant health problems that range from heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and dementia. Your natural dentist in Denver hopes that patients understand the risk poor oral hygiene can present to their overall health during this delicate time.
As fears related to COVID-19 may prevent some people from leaving their homes to visit their natural dentist in Denver or to receive non-emergency health care, keep in mind what the deterioration of your oral health could mean to your overall health. By neglecting the damage done by tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss, you could be inadvertently raising your risk of other underlying health conditions at a time where protecting our health couldn’t be more important.
We hope that our patients continue to receive regular dental care. If you have any questions about dental care or your safety regarding COVID, we ask that you give us a call and we will happily provide further details about the steps we’ve taken to ensure our patients stay healthy.