GUM DISEASE HEALTH EFFECTS
Did you know that periodontal disease (gum disease) isn’t just bad for your teeth? Not taking good care of your teeth and gums can cause more than issues such as bad breath or a toothache — poor oral hygiene is also linked to other serious health issues. The state of your teeth and gums affects your overall health, and in order to be considered healthy, you need to avoid having any part of your body at risk for inflammation or infection. Brushing your teeth can not only prevent gum disease, but it can also improve your overall health.
GUM DISEASE DANGERS
Gum disease is an infection caused by bacteria around the gums resulting from plaque build-up. This causes the gums to recede, pull away from the teeth, and create small pockets. Particles of food trapped in these pockets combined with bacteria in the mouth produce toxins that are irritating to gum tissue and cause inflammation – without treatment, the tissues and bones that support teeth begin breaking down. In people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body reacts to the bacteria and causes inflammation. Intense gum inflammation can affect the bloodstream, slowly causing damage to the heart and brain over time.
WHAT’S THE DAMAGE?
Periodontal disease has been linked to more than 120 health issues, including:
GUM DISEASE AND DIABETES
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the link between gum disease and diabetes is strong. People with diabetes may be more susceptible to bacterial infections causing gum disease, and gum disease may affect blood glucose control. It is crucial that people with diabetes maintain good oral hygiene, manage their blood glucose level, and visit the dentist every six months, and non-emergency dental work should only be scheduled if your blood sugar is under control.
GUM DISEASE AND YOUR HEART
Research supports the association between gum disease and heart disease, and could possibly be related to an inflammatory product known as c-reactive protein (CRP), which has been found to be elevated in people with gum disease. One possibility is that bacteria from periodontal disease enters the bloodstream, travels to other parts of the circulatory system and causes infection. Another is that smoking and excessive weight are also a common risk factor in gum disease and heart disease, so there is an overlap of issues.
EARLY DETECTION IS KEY
A lot of gum disease health effects can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular professional dental care. If caught in the early stages, it can be managed more easily. If allowed to progress, your teeth may lose too much bone support, after which it will be difficult to treat and may require dental extractions. The good news is that brushing your teeth regularly and taking good care of your gums can prevent gum disease, improve your overall health and help reduce your risk of other health issues. It is especially important to take care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy to avoid health risks. Follow a routine of daily brushing twice a day for a full two minutes, and following up with cleaning between your teeth by flossing or using interdental brushes. Visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and a professional cleaning.
Don’t have a dentist? Schedule an appointment with Biltmore Commons Dental Care. We are conveniently located in the Missouri Professional Plaza in central Phoenix.