Do your gums bleed frequently when you brush your teeth? If so, I?m sure your dentist has told you it?s a sign of periodontal disease. But that?s not the only symptom of gum disease. Are your gums swollen or tender? Are they beginning to recede? Do you have deep pockets around your teeth? While these signs of periodontal disease may not worry you much, they should. You see periodontal disease is a sign of a much bigger health problem - one that could threaten your life.
What?s worse is that your dentist may not have told you about this association. If not, he or she is behind the times. And your health is at risk.
You see, periodontal disease is often a very clear sign of insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance usually have high triglycerides, high HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and usually a big belly. This cluster of symptoms often leads to diabetes, heart disease, a fatty liver, and breast cancer - to name just a few of the more dangerous illnesses. You?ll often see these symptoms when inflammation is present. And low-grade inflammation is associated with both metabolic syndrome and periodontal disease.
If you have three or more of the five factors leading to insulin resistance, see your dentist immediately. Find out whether or not you also have periodontal disease. If you do, begin treating it with diet and anti-inflammatory herbs and mouthwashes.
Meanwhile, if you have gum disease, see your medical doctor immediately. Ask him or her to evaluate you for insulin resistance. Diet and lifestyle changes can turn it, and your health, around. I have written a number of articles on these subjects, which are all available to newsletter subscribers on my website (www.womenshealthletter.com).
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Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Shimazaki, Y, et al, "Relationship of metabolic syndrome to periodontal disease in Japanese women: the Hisayama Study", J Dent Res, March 2007.
Esposito, K, and Giugliano, D, "The metabolic syndrome and inflammation: association or causation?" Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, Oct 2004.