Health risks associated with tooth decay

Evidence from population-based studies over 15 years have revealed a heavily supported connection between oral health status and major chronic diseases.

Despite the effort to educate and treat, decay and periodontal diseases remain a major health problem, and can no longer be ignored. Evidence has revealed that tooth decay is not limited to the mouth, but more worryingly, linked to your overall general health. It is essential to receive regular dental care to protect natural teeth from decay and focus on early detection and prevention.

A staggering 70% of tooth loss is a result of tooth decay, 20% from periodontal diseases and 10% from other causes.

How is tooth decay formed?

Acid is formed in the mouth from the bacteria reacting with the sugar in foods. This build-up of acid can attack our teeth and produce decay, which, if left untreated, can lead to a cavity.  The combination of bacteria, mucus and other particles in our mouth, form a film known as plaque on the teeth. Regular brushing and flossing will work to remove this plaque. However, the plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar. If the plaque progresses to tartar, home dental care will not remove it and a professional cleaning by a dental health professional is required.  The longer the plaque or tartar remain untreated, the higher the risk of damage.  In advanced cases, the tooth may need to be extracted.

On an extreme level, this can lead to gingivitis which is a mild form of gum disease and then develop into periodontitis. This introduces a new spectrum of dental problems and if untreated can advance to general health problems.

Root Decay | Carnegie Dental Group

Oral health and general health

The relationship between oral health and general health has been linked by various studies. Emerging studies are continuing in an effort to determine and support this relationship.

Oral health and general health correlate in four major ways:

  1. Poor oral health and chronic diseases are knowingly linked
  2. Poor oral health is associated with disabilities
  3. Oral health issues and major diseases share common risk factors
  4. General health problems may cause or worsen oral health conditions

Reports extending over 10 years of research demonstrated that both periodontal disease and total loss of teeth were associated with greater risk for a range of diseases and health problems. This include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Dementia
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Oral cancers

Examining the links between oral and general health is now the focus of increasingly sophisticated studies. To help the early detection and prevention of tooth decay and any level of progression, visit Carnegie Dental Group by appointment on (03) 9571 9016 or contact online.  

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