Gentle Dental of West Chester
125 Turner Lane, West Chester, PA 19380

The state of one’s teeth and gums may impact overall health of the body

The-state-of-ones-teeth-and-gums-may-impact-overall-health-of-the-body

People should keep their dentists informed of existing medical conditions because many non-dental ailments have been linked to dental health. By including the family dentist in a person’s medical team, the best treatments can be determined that best safeguard someone’s well-being.

For instance, WebMD advises people who have had a heart attack to wait six months before any dentistry is performed on them. Dental practitioners should also be told if patients are taking anticoagulants, which are blood-thinning drugs, because excess bleeding could occur during some procedures. Patients should also check to see if oxygen and nitroglycerin is available at the dentist office in case of an emergency.

For those with high blood pressure, it’s important to ask if the anesthetics used by the dentist contain epinephrine, because that substance could trigger angina, heighten blood pressure levels and affect other heart-related conditions.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), bacteria that enters the mouth through tooth decay or gum disease can spread throughout the body. In addition to a well-known link to diabetes, dental problems may be an indication of nutritional deficiencies, blood disorders, impaired immunity and bacterial pneumonia.

Periodontitis, the most severe level of gum disease, also increases the risk of a pregnant woman delivering a baby prematurely or a full-term baby that has a low birth weight.

In general, the state of one’s teeth and gums should be considered in tandem with the overall health of the body to ensure that symptoms beyond a simple toothache and the potential of underlying medical concerns aren’t overlooked.

Gums and diabetes
To block dental disease from causing bad health in other parts of the body, ADA states that prevention is key. Good hygiene that includes a minimum of brushing teeth twice and flossing once daily, as well as regular check-ups with a local dentist, is important to maintain good dental health and identify problems in the early stages.

For people who are at the greatest risk of gum disease – at age 40 or older – regular dental exams are especially important for those with diabetes. When gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease, evolves into the more serious periodontitis, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and exacerbating an existing case.

While this form of diabetes can be regulated with a healthy diet and medication, people with advanced gum disease have to monitor their sugar intake to make sure it doesn’t create unhealthy glucose levels.

In addition, high sugar levels compromise one’s immune system and the ability to fight infections, including oral disease. Conditions that include tooth sensitivity and decay, dry mouth and delayed healing of mouth sores may result.

Another health concern related to dental care is respiratory illness. When high levels of bacteria are allowed to fester in the mouth, they can travel down the throat and into the lungs and create conditions that make breathing difficult. In the worst case scenario, illnesses such as pneumonia may result.

Heart risks
The most hotly debated link between dental problems and overall health remains the one regarding cardiovascular conditions such as clogged arteries, which some researchers believe may worsen from chronic inflammation that begins in the mouth.

In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) announced that studies correlating swelled, diseased gums and clogged arteries are inconclusive, as is the link between dental health and heart disease.

However, the AHA also stated that periodontal and heart diseases have similar risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes. The association continues to advise people to take care of their dental health as part of a heart-healthy regimen, pointing out that regular dental care reduces the risk of infections that may affect the heart.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Dr. Valentine is great!
Sean P.
I was very pleased with Dr. Valentine's professional work. She always makes me feel very comfortable!
Joseph Y.
Made me feel comfortable and people were friendly
Pamela J.
Still amazing! Dr. Penfil and Laura! They are awesome!
Jacqueline W.
Great service and everyone was extremely helpful and informative.
Sean P.
As always, everyone that works at Gentle Dental West Chester are awesome.
Lucy D.
Dr. Valentine is very very nice and very patient with me I know I can be a difficult patient at times. I am thankful to her and her staff
Carolyn B.
Dr Penfill is very, very thorough
David G.
Difficult situation worked out very well so far.
Michael S.
I was able to get in the same day for a broken filling replacement. I was explained my options to fix the tooth along with the financial impact […]
Curt L.
treatment was very gentle
Anonymous
As always, I had a great visit.
Lucy D.
Friendly, accommodating, and most importantly the work that's been done on my teeth is fantastic. I could ask for anything more in a practice.
Wesley W.
Great folks to be around during a trip to the dentist. Everything went perfectly! I was in and out before I knew it.
Chris T.
I have been seeing Dr. Penfil for over 25 years and highly recommend this dentist!
Anonymous
very good dentist would recommend to anyone.
Elwood C.
Always on time for appointments and very friendly staff.
Anonymous
You guys were awesome !
Matthew R.
Fast, great service from friendly staff.
Anonymous
Excellent service and great advice.
Lee T.
Great dentist, very personable and put me at ease right away. And that's saying something since you usually have to gas me before I'd let you near me.
Dusty T.
Extremely kind. Great customer service. They were able to schedule me in for an emergency appointment the same day I called.
Mike C.
Fast and painless tooth extraction
Chris N.
I have been treated with respect from the front desk, Dentist to the paying of my bill. This is from a life long dentist hater who is no longer in […]
Nancy H.
Excellent service and professional staff.
Rebecca A.
The office was clean and the staff was friendly and professional. The doctor was very caring and helpful.
Shauna M.
They do great work very happy and I would recommend everyone to go there.
Elwood C.
I was taken on time. Service was quick and painless. I had a filling done and a cleaning the previous week. Everyone from the receptionist to the […]
Al K.
Dr. Valentine is very personable, and truly seems to care. She makes sure that you see your X-rays in order to understand exactly what may be an […]
Thomas S.
very through
Beverly J.
I had a good experience this past Friday. I had 2 teeth extracted by Dr. Valentine. She did a great job. She is very nice and professional at the […]
Patricia D.
Every one is so nice and they make you feel comfortable !!
Pamela J.
Very accommodating
James K.
Saw me immediately for dental emergency
James K.
polite and painless
Douglas L.
Painless!
Sharon R.
The folks at Gentle Dental are professional and friendly.
Anonymous
Everyone at Gentle Dental is professional and polite. Dr. Valentine checked out my situation and provided me with her professional opinion and […]
John R.
Dr Penfill is awesome!!
David G.
Caring, patient treatment. Answered all of my questions and kept me apprised of what was going on. Friendly, excellent and painless care. Very good!
Daniel M.
As always, everyone in the West Chester office are awesome!
Lucy D.
It was pleasurable.
Maria M.
Most professional, friendly and accomodating.
Frank P.
Always a good experience
James K.
Dr Valentine continues to be the best dentist I've seen. Quick, painless, efficient. Couldn't be happier.
Bret R.
I have finally found a dentist (Dr. Valentine) who is absolutely amazing. She is professional, sincere and efficient. I never leave her office […]
Melinda A.
Both excellent dental care and an efficient and informative office staff and administrative system.
Douglas S.
This is my first visit. The staff is very nice on the phone and in person. I really like Dr. Valentine. She is thorough,caring of my needs and made […]
Susan F.
Great appointment as always!
Lucy D.
I had a great experience. Thank you
Regina G.
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Office Hours
  • Monday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Wednesday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Saturday Closed
  • Sunday Closed
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  • Phone: (484) 643-4417
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