Life Extension through Periodontal health?

By Dr Lawrence Spindel, Tuesday March 27, 2007                   Dentist New York,NY

There is mounting evidence that having your teeth cleaned and a mouth free of periodontal disease is good for your over all general health.  This is an example of an old idea become new.  It wasn’t that long ago that dentist were removing teeth that were periodontally involved because they were considered a source of other infections.  Now we often can treat periodontally involved teeth so that they  can become healthy again but left in a diseased state they just may negatively affect peoples’ health. In recent years there have been many studies showing a correlation with periodontal disease and cardiac disease.  There is evidence that in both conditions a increase in the serum levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) has been noted and that this may have something to do with ths correlation(theory still unproven). 

According to Scripps Laboratories“Serum levels of CRP are elevated in a wide vareity of acute and chronic inflammatory conditions.  These conditions include most bacterial and some viral infections, rheumatic fever,rhematoid arthritis, and many collegen diseases.  CRP serum levels are also valuable in the detection and evaluation of tissue injury, acute myocardial infarction, transplant rejection and several malignant disorders”

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine(March 1,2007) found that patients with severe periodontal disease showed improved vascular function after treatment of their periodontal disease.  The studies lead author, Maurizio S. Tonetti, concluded” that gum disease, along with other chronic inflammation, might contribute to atherosclerosis.”

Cardiac disease in part involves an imflammatory response in blood vessels which then become further narrowed and can result in impaired blood flow.  Could it be that bacteria from the mouth are getting into the blood and contributing to this inflammatory response?  This is not known or proven yet, but it seems like a good idea for one to maintain a health mouth!

For many years I have recommended that my patients over 40 years of age have cleanings every three months.  I do this so that they wil have fewer periodontal problems, but it may turn out that this regimen improves their overall health!