Dr. Gibbs recently attended a three day symposium on periodontal disease in Phoenix. Among topics discussed was the relationships between periodontal disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) and overall health. Current university based research has shown that women who had gum disease are 7X (700%) more likely to give birth to low birth weight or premature babies. There is a pharmacological basis for this relationship. Some of the prostaglandin’s (chemical mediators) released by the umbilical cord to trigger birth are chemically similar to the chemicals released in gum disease.
For those persons on the older spectrum, the prospects can also be serious. Other research has shown a strong correlation between gum disease and coronary heart disease. Investigators have shown that certain types of harmful, plaque-forming bacteria may also activate clotting factors and proteins that contribute to heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Mayo (founder of the Mayo clinics) once stated that “good oral health can easily add ten years to a person’s life expectancy.” We are now beginning to realize the complex reasons why.