Gum Disease and Your Overall Health
One of the biggest problems with gum disease is that there is often a lack of awareness. Most people who have it are completely unaware of it. By the time they do begin to notice symptoms, gum disease has progressed into something more serious. There is a common misconception that gum disease only affects the mouth. While these effects are far from fun, your mouth is not the only thing that is affected. Gum disease can also greatly impact your overall health. At Century Dental, we can help you to diagnose and treat your gum disease, protecting not just your oral health, but your overall health as well.
Oral Effects of Gum Disease
You may already know some of the effects that gum disease has on your oral health. Gum disease causes the gum tissue to become inflamed. It is common for your gums to bleed during your normal oral care routine. The condition also causes gum recession, tooth sensitivity, loss of bone around the teeth, shifting teeth, tooth decay and tooth loss. These are the effects that most people are familiar with.
What many people don’t know is that advanced gum disease can lead to serious health issues. As gum disease worsens, bacteria can get into your bloodstream. When this happens, the disease can spread throughout your body. One of the issues this can lead to is heart disease. Bacteria cause inflammation. In your bloodstream, this can cause the blood vessels to swell, which can restrict blood flow. This can contribute to increased blood pressure. Bacteria in the heart can cause inflammation of the lining, causing a condition known as endocarditis. Those with gum disease are at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack than those who have a healthy mouth.
Gum disease and diabetes complicate each other. If you have diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing gum disease. This is partly because those with diabetes have a higher sugar content in their saliva, which provides food for oral bacteria. If you do develop gum disease and have diabetes, gum disease can make your diabetes more difficult to control. Those who have both diabetes and gum disease are also at a greater risk of suffering from kidney problems.
Those with gum disease are at a greater risk for respiratory complications, especially if they have other risk factors for respiratory problems or already have other breathing-related issues. Those with gum disease have more bacteria in their mouth. Breathing in through the mouth could mean inhaling some of that bacteria into the lungs. The lungs are the perfect environment for bacteria, being warm and moist. If you have gum disease, you are more than twice as likely to develop a very serious, or even permanent, respiratory issue than those who do not have gum disease.
The research is currently limited, but there have been some links found between gum disease and dementia. Some studies have shown that older adults with significant tooth loss as a result of gum disease are more likely to exhibit symptoms of dementia than those who have a healthy mouth.
Gum disease causes inflammation. This can also trigger other inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. This is a condition that causes inflammation in your joints. If you have rheumatoid arthritis and develop gum disease, it may be possible for your rheumatoid arthritis to flare up more frequently.
Gum disease can also impact the health of an unborn baby. If you are pregnant and develop gum disease, your risks for preterm birth, low birth weight, and even miscarriage increase. For these reasons, it is imperative that you do not skip your routine cleanings and exams.
Treating gum disease is not just important for your oral health. It is also important for protecting your overall health, reducing your risks for many health-related complications. For more information, call Century Dental at (971) 708-1608 today.