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Can poor dental health affect the rest of your body?

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Sticky bacterial plaque that builds up on your teeth and inflamed, bleeding gums do more than just threaten your dental health.

A growing body of research finds that bacteria and inflammation in your mouth are also linked to other problems, including heart attack and dementia, and may well jeopardize your overall health.

Scientists have identified several links between poor oral health and other health problems -- although they can't yet establish cause and effect. This list of health problems has been growing as research continues.

SOURCES:

David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, and professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Sally Cram, DDS, periodontist, Washington, D.C., and consumer advisor, American Dental Association.

American Academy of Periodontology: "Gum Disease and Diabetes," "Inflammation: Connecting the Mouth and Body?", "Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology develop joint clinical recommendations," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart: The Perio-Cardio Connection."

Offenbacher, S. October 1996; vol 67: pp 1103-1113. Journal of Periodontology,

Seymour R. May 23, 2009; vol 206: pp 551-552. British Dental Journal,

Radnai, M. , March 2009; vol 88: pp 280-284. Journal of Dental Research

American Dental Association: "Plaque," "Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums," "Tooth Decay."

Noble, J. , online May 5, 2009. Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgery Psychiatry

Kaisare, S. Aug. 11, 2007; vol 203: pp 144-145. British Dental Journal,

Srinivas, S. May 2009; vol 200: p 497 and e1-8. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,

Smolik, I. May 2009; vol 30: pp 188-90, 192, 194, 198, 210. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry,

Kamer, A. July 2008; vol 4: pp 242-50. Alzheimer's & Dementia,

Wang, T. May 2009, vol 36: pp 372-379. Journal of Clinical Periodontology,

Ortiz, P. 2009, vol 80: pp 535-540. Journal of Periodontology,

Mercado, FB. , June 2001; vol 72: pp 779-787. Journal of Periodontology

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on January 15, 2018

SOURCES:

David Cochran, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, and professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Sally Cram, DDS, periodontist, Washington, D.C., and consumer advisor, American Dental Association.

American Academy of Periodontology: "Gum Disease and Diabetes," "Inflammation: Connecting the Mouth and Body?", "Journal of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology develop joint clinical recommendations," "Frequently Asked Questions," "Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart: The Perio-Cardio Connection."

Offenbacher, S. October 1996; vol 67: pp 1103-1113. Journal of Periodontology,

Seymour R. May 23, 2009; vol 206: pp 551-552. British Dental Journal,

Radnai, M. , March 2009; vol 88: pp 280-284. Journal of Dental Research

American Dental Association: "Plaque," "Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums," "Tooth Decay."

Noble, J. , online May 5, 2009. Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgery Psychiatry

Kaisare, S. Aug. 11, 2007; vol 203: pp 144-145. British Dental Journal,

Srinivas, S. May 2009; vol 200: p 497 and e1-8. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,

Smolik, I. May 2009; vol 30: pp 188-90, 192, 194, 198, 210. Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry,

Kamer, A. July 2008; vol 4: pp 242-50. Alzheimer's & Dementia,

Wang, T. May 2009, vol 36: pp 372-379. Journal of Clinical Periodontology,

Ortiz, P. 2009, vol 80: pp 535-540. Journal of Periodontology,

Mercado, FB. , June 2001; vol 72: pp 779-787. Journal of Periodontology

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on January 15, 2018

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Why does teeth grinding and sleep bruxism occur?

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