We know that oral health affects overall health, but did you know your oral health also affects your tests and how your physician may treat you based on the results of these tests?
If you have heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or any other chronic inflammatory conditions, you’ve probably heard of CRP.
CRP is a marker of overall inflammation in your body. CRP is measured via a blood test. The lower your CRP, the better.
CRP is a rough tool and certainly not the end-all for diagnosing inflammation, although it was found to be more accurate than using cholesterol levels in predicting heart disease.
Are your doctor and your dentist working together to evaluate your CRP and oral Health?
Get the doctor’s letter I use with my own patients. You can print it out to take to your next appointment.
Download the CRP letter for free by clicking on the image below.
CRP tells you that the body is reacting, but not how or why. It’s up to your doctor to use CRP along with other tests to determine what’s going on.
Inflammation is important because it is common to nearly every modern disease, including heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, obesity, dementia, arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive disorders.
Inflammation is your body’s response to injury, infection, or stress. Inflammation is the body’s attempt to protect itself from something harmful and start to heal itself. But when inflammation becomes chronic, this is when issues crop up.
If your body has high levels of inflammation (high CRP), this means that your immune system is very active and you may be suffering from a disease and aging prematurely as a result.
This is why your physician measures CRP via blood tests. CRP helps your physician measure the amount of inflammation in your body and whether it is improving or worsening at any given time during your treatment.
What your physician may not be considering is how your oral health might be contributing to an increase in your CRP.
The mouth is an often overlooked source of inflammation in the body. Gum disease, a chronic infection, will increase your CRP levels. Even gingivitis — the very first sign of gum disease — can increase your CRP levels.
If your physician does not consider this infection in your mouth when interpreting your elevated CRP levels, your treatment may not necessarily get you the results that you and your physician are expecting.
Many people have gum disease but don’t know it because they haven’t been to the dentist. Even if you already know you have gum disease, since your dentist and your doctor are not communicating, this critical information doesn’t get communicated.
It is essential for your physician to have a clear picture of your oral health when treating you for inflammation.
At the end of this article, you’ll find a checklist designed to empower you and your physician to include this missing link in treating your inflammatory disease so that you have better treatment and a more accurate view of the outcome.
The irony that’s lost on perhaps all of us — dentist and physicians alike — is that it may be gum disease that is contributing to the heart disease. Many studies are now suggesting that the correlation between CRP and gum disease might be an underlying mechanism in the association between gum disease and a higher risk for heart disease.
Mark Burhenne DDS
Are your doctor and your dentist working together to evaluate your CRP and Oral Health?
Get the doctor’s letter I use with my own patients. You can print it out to take to your next appointment.Read Next: Brushing and Flossing Prevent Heart Disease: New Study
Noack, B, et al. “Periodontal infections contribute to elevated systemic C-reactive protein level.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2001. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
Marchetti, et al. “Periodontal Disease: The Influence of Metabolic Syndrome.” Nutrition & Metabolism. Nutrition & Metabolism, 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.