By Jeanne Dockins
Few people realize that gum disease is a communicable infection that can be transmitted by kissing their dog or allowing their furry friend to lick their mouth. Another even likelier way to contract this infection is by kissing a date or partner. “Every time you kiss someone you may be exchanging some of this potentially dangerous mouth bacteria,” says Jeanne Dockins, RN, BSN.
Dockins, who appears in “Say Ahh: The Cavity in Healthcare Reform,” the world’s first documentary on oral health and its relation to overall health, points out that untreated gum disease can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and death.
Dockins cites a statistic from David Verity, DDS, who says that more than 40 percent of the population has some degree of periodontal disease and having class 3 or 4 periodontal disease is like having an infection as large as the palm of your hand. The severity of gum disease increases with age, smoking, diabetes and pre-existing conditions to name a few. People don’t realize their gum infection can worsen other health conditions.
Dockins is so passionate about spreading the word about the far-reaching health impacts of gum disease that she quit her job as a surgical nurse to bring this emerging issue to light among the medical community and the population at large.
The American College of Surgeons and Surgical Infection Society has established that allowing patients to have elective surgery with an active infection is placing surgical patients at increased risk for postoperative infection. Dockins points out that periodontal disease is an active infection.
To avoid getting periodontal disease, Dockins advises people to:
- Refrain from kissing their dog or allowing the dog to lick them on the mouth.
- When kissing someone who might have gum disease, chew xylitol gum or suck on nanosilver lozenges which kills oral bacteria.
- Refrain from kissing people they don’t know who may have gum disease.
- Know their partner’s periodontal probing scores, which measure the depths of the gum disease pockets. Any probing 4 or above indicates periodontal disease.
- Have routine dental examinations and know their own periodontal probing scores.
These are just a few tips Dockins recommends for reducing the risk of contracting gum disease.
(Image: Public Domain Image, Dreamstime)
Jeanne Dockins spent more than three decades as a surgical nurse at a level I trauma center where she observed that half of her surgical patients were having surgery with dentist diagnosed active periodontal infections. Through her Mastery of Self-Healing website, she empowers people to take responsibility for their own health and healing and sells nanosilver products that are FDA cleared to kill bacteria and fungus. Website: www.masteryofselfhealing.com