Dental Health

Treating gum disease may lessen the burden of heart disease, diabetes, other conditions

Julie Corliss
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

In the folk song “Dem Bones,” every bone is connected to the next one in line. Here’s an interesting wrinkle on that idea: The gum bone, or at least problems with it, are connected to all sorts of health problems. Gum disease—which begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film known as plaque builds up around your teeth—is closely linked to premature birth, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. Now, a report in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that treating gum disease (also called periodontal disease) can lead to better health — as evidenced by lower health care costs and fewer hospitalizations — among people with common health conditions. The common thread between gum disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation. Eliminating the gum infection may dampen that harmful response throughout the body.

Halloween candy

Peter Wehrwein
Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Trick or treat? It’s really a rhetorical question. They just want the Halloween candy. Millions of American children will get billions of sugar- and fat-laden treats on Sunday night in a tradition that has its roots in pagan and Christian rituals. It’s fun. The kids are outside, walking. And, gosh, they’re cute in their princess and pirate costumes. But nutritionally and dentally speaking, the […]

Dental fear? Our readers suggest coping techniques.

Ann MacDonald
Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the topic of dental phobia. Fear of the dentist is incredibly common, with surveys estimating that it affects 13% to 24% of people around the world. For many people, dental anxiety is disturbing but not disabling. But some are so terrorized at the thought of going to […]

Afraid of the dentist? How do you deal with it?

Ann MacDonald
Ann MacDonald, Contributor, Harvard Health

In our October issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, we offer advice about how to manage dental phobia. I’d love to hear from readers of this blog about what techniques they use to cope with their own dental fear. I’ll compile representative replies in a later post. (This issue is one I grapple with […]