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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gum disease sufferers are three times more at risk for heart ailments than individuals without oral health problems.
In light of the finding that more than 75 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from periodontal disease, dentist Jerome Blum notes that it is "more important than ever to understand the connection between gum disease and other chronic conditions."
Periodontal disease destroys the tissues that support one's teeth, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Other studies, published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, link poor oral health to a range of other serious health problems, including diabetes and pneumonia.
In the hopes of further illuminating the links between oral and overall health, the University of Pennsylvania is joining with United Concordia Dental, a dental insurer, to fund new research. The study will examine the impact of gum disease treatment on the overall costs of caring for serious medical conditions. This research may help confirm whether, and how, frequent dental cleanings can reduce the risk of instances of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The American Dental Association stresses the need for adults to schedule frequent dental checkups. Dentists can both diagnose and create long-term treatment plans for serious periodontal diseases.
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