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When it comes to our health, many of us focus on things like diet, exercise and regular check-ups. However, a new study * that analyzes 25 years of data has confirmed that “Death arrives earlier for those who have PERIODONTAL DISEASE. Periodontal disease delivers a chronic inflammatory burden, that the longer you have that inflammatory burden, the higher the risk of death.” The study demonstrates that nothing good comes from having bad teeth and bad gums, and emphases the overall connection between the health of our mouths and our bodies.

My father, Mark DiBona, DDS, (who many of you adore and had as your dentist for decades), used to tell patients, “If your fingers bled when you washed your hands, you would be alarmed and go to your doctor and say ‘I’ve got a problem, my fingers are bleeding’, however when people brush and floss their teeth, and their gums bleed, people mistakenly think that’s normal”.  It’s actually a sign of chronic inflammation, which changes the type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. And that bacteria then goes on to live in other parts of your body, and can lead to a shorter lifespan.


The connection between early mortality and gum disease might seem confusing at first, but several factors come into play:

  1. INFLAMMATION. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory disease (think of the gums always being puffy, red, irritated, bleeding…). This inflammation not only affects the oral cavity, but can contribute to systemic inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to certain chronic diseases like HEART DISEASE, DIABETES and even certain types of CANCER.
  2. SHARED RISK FACTORS: Gum disease shares common risk factors with other chronic conditions like poor diet, smoking, lack of physical activity. Addressing these risk factors not only benefits oral health, but also will contribute to overall better health.
  3. IMMUNE SYSTEM RESPONSE: The body’s immune response to gum disease can negatively impact your health. An overactive immune response triggered by chronic gum inflammation may contribute to higher risk of other health issues.
  4. BACTERIAL SPREAD: The bacteria that lives in your mouth when you have gum disease (usually anerobic, gram – bacteria) can lead to formation of pockets of bacteria and debris around the teeth and gums. These pockets can act like reservoirs for harmful bacteria, which now can enter your bloodstream and spread to other organs. Think cardiovascular risk.


Dr. Heaton’s research highlights the importance of oral health as an integral part of overall wellness. Neglecting oral care can have far-reaching consequences beyond tooth loss. Regular dental visits and a HIGHLY TRAINED DENTAL HYGIENE TEAM to help customize your dental hygiene plan are essential for maintaining good oral health and living a healthier, longer life!

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please call 603.772.4352. Our dental hygiene team at DiBona Dental Group has over 75 years of combined experience and is incredibly successful at treating and preventing periodontal disease.

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Such a delightful and professional practice!
—Katee J.
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