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Inflammation: Connecting the Mouth and Body?
Date:11/24/2008

Research suggests chronic inflammation links gum disease to other disease states

CHICAGO, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Brush after every meal. Floss daily. See your dental professional regularly. These instructions make sense coming from your dentist to help you sustain your oral health. But now not only dentists, but also many physicians, are stressing the importance of maintaining oral health in an effort to keep the rest of the body healthy. Research has long suggested an association between gum disease and other health issues, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but now scientists are beginning to shift their focus to understanding why these connections exist. An emerging theory, and one gaining support from researchers worldwide, is that inflammation may link the mouth to the body.

Inflammation is the body's instinctive reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury or shield against irritation. Inflammation is often characterized by swelling, redness, heat and pain around the affected area. While inflammation initially intends to heal the body, over time, chronic inflammation can lead to dysfunction of the infected tissues, and therefore more severe health complications.

According to Dr. Susan Karabin, Past President of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in New York City, periodontal disease is a textbook example of an inflammatory disorder. "For many years, dental professionals believed that gum disease was solely the result of a bacterial infection caused by a build-up of plaque between the teeth and under the gums. While plaque accumulation is still a factor in the development and progression of gum disease, researchers now suspect that the more severe symptoms, namely swollen, bleeding gums; recession around the gum line, and loss of the bone that holds the teeth in place, may be caused by the chronic inflammatory response
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SOURCE American Academy of Periodontolgy
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