Find Out How Gum Disease Affects Your Health

In recent years, multiple studies have revealed that there is a strong connection between inflammation and many diseases. The connection has also proven that the greatest threat of inflammation over the long term stems from oral inflammation – particularly from the more severe gum disease called periodontal disease.

Health Issues Connected to Periodontitis

When you have inflammation in your mouth caused by gum disease, it can lead to many different serious health problems. Among other ones, the problems include:
  • Respiratory disease – The bacteria that cause problems in the mouth can get into the lungs, which could lead to pneumonia.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis – Research does reveal that there is a connection, but the exact process is not understood yet.

  • Cancer – Researchers know that the bacteria in gum disease are connected to several forms of cancer, including pancreatic, kidney, and some cancers of the blood.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the term for more serious levels of gum disease. When gum disease starts out, it is called gingivitis and most people do not realize that it is gum disease. Signs of gingivitis include gums that bleed when you brush them and inflamed gums.

The disease is caused by bacteria that are normally in the mouth and it gets into the gums. Most of the time gum disease is caused by poor oral health – a lack of brushing the teeth and flossing regularly. The bacteria produce acid whenever it consumes sugar. As it gets into the gums, the acid starts an immune reaction – inflammation has started. More bacteria get into the gums as the gum disease worsens, and the inflammation spreads.

As gum disease progresses, the inflammation becomes worse. The gums pull away from the teeth, and pockets of pus form at the gumline. These pockets have become places where the bacteria can hide and multiply. As they do, they attack the support structures for the teeth and the jawbone. Both are slowly being eroded away. Soon the teeth will become loose and may even fall out.

Why Inflammation Is a Problem

As the bacteria involved in periodontal disease increases in the gums, it also gets access to your bloodstream. From there, the bacteria can spread throughout your body – and into your organs. Your organs start an immune system response and it sends neutrophils, monocytes, and T-cells into the area to fight the bacteria. As it does, the inflammation continues to spread as more bacteria enter the organ and this can lead to serious complications in that organ – or more than one.

The Problems Periodontal Disease Is Linked to

Periodontal disease and inflammation have already been linked to many different medical problems. All of them have potentially serious complications and some of them are even fatal. Among them, you will find:
  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Stroke

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Low birth weight in premature babies

  • Dementia

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Respiratory disease

  • Obesity

  • And many more.

A recent study revealed that people with periodontal disease are much more likely to have a chronic condition with it. The risk is as much as 40 percent higher.

Another study conducted in Sweden indicated that people with long-term periodontitis died prematurely and shortened their life by an average of 31 years or more. People with a missing molar have an even higher risk of overall health problems.

Instructing Medical Providers

The connection between oral inflammation and poor overall health complications is strong enough that the government urges clinicians to learn more about oral diseases, and that dentists learn more about general medicine in order to cope with this definite overlap. The two fields now understand that when there is inflammation in the mouth that it can lead to risks of serious health problems.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the major cause for tooth loss in adults today. The reason so many people are losing teeth from it – about half the adults in the U.S. have it – is because it often has little or no pain until serious damage has already taken place. Even before it reaches that point, only a dentist can stop it.

Symptoms may include:

  • Receding gums

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Red or swollen gums

  • Bleeding gums

  • Loose teeth

  • Bad breath that does not go away.

Financial Considerations of Proper Dental Care

In addition to the possible costs of having serious dental problems, there is also a connection with the costs of heart care. People who had taken care of their teeth had a significantly lower cost when it came to cardiovascular care. The difference ranged from 10 to 40 percent lower.

Tips for Preventing Periodontal Disease

The best way to lower your risk of these serious health problems is to take action to prevent gum disease. In most cases, it is preventable and you can stop it before it starts. Here are some lifestyle tips to help reduce your risk:
  • Brush twice daily for two minutes each time

  • Floss every day

  • Quit smoking – reduces your gum's immune system

  • Get to a healthy weight – being overweight raises your risk of periodontal disease 40 to 50%.

  • Get any gum disease you have treated right away.

If you have inflamed gums and periodontal disease, you can get gum inflammation treatment from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist. He can provide treatment for oral inflammation that will lead to better overall health. His offices are in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental treatment for better dental health, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.