The relationship between oral inflammation and general health
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research revealed that as many as 10 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 64 have periodontal disease. One of the early symptoms of gum disease is bleeding of the gums. Research from many sources now indicates that periodontitis is connected to more than 50 diseases – many of which could shorten your life.
The Connection Between Periodontitis and Major Illnesses
Researchers have suspected for some time that bacteria in the mouth are connected to major illnesses. Only recently has the discovery been made that revealed that inflammation is the key, which is connected to gum disease. The bacterium in your mouth that causes the inflammation of the gums has been found in the organs affected by disease.
The Conditions That Threaten Your Health
It seems that the list that connects gum infection with various diseases continues to grow. At present, there are more than 50 of them. Here are some categories of health and the diseases that affect it.
The Heart: coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, and more.
The Respiratory System: emphysema, COPD, pneumonia, sleep apnea, and more.
The Liver: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, pancreatic cancer, cirrhosis, and more.
The Digestive System: inflammatory bowel disease, abdominal pain, acid reflux, and more.
Age-related Problems: dementia, Alzheimer's, premature aging.
Women's Health Problems: complications with pregnancy, endometriosis, infertility, and low-birth weight.
Men's Health Problems: impotence, erectile dysfunction, libido problems, and more.
Cancer: kidney cancer, blood cancers, esophagus cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and more.
Other Problems: retinal degeneration, obesity, diabetes, aging, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
As you can see from this list, many diseases that were previously thought to be unrelated are now believed to have a root cause – inflammation of the gums. Treating gum disease in its early stages is one of the best ways to help ensure better health over time.
The Source of Inflammation
Although there is more than one source of inflammation, the bacteria causing inflamed gums seems to be a primary culprit. These same bacteria are found at the site of these various diseases, which causes researchers to believe that it is the key.
The bacterium that causes gingivitis and periodontitis is naturally found in your mouth. A healthy mouth has many other types of bacteria in it that normally helps keep the bad bacteria under control. Several factors can easily cause this natural balance to become unbalanced and the bad bacteria starts growing uncontrollably – causing inflammation of the gums.
Triggers of Oral Bacterial Growth
Ordinary habits of life in America are the basis for growth of these bacteria. Sugary foods and drinks provides food for the bad bacteria, which causes it to multiply faster. This includes sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks, as well as an abundance of pastries, desserts, and candy. Eating foods with tons of calories (fast food) also provides plenty of sugar.
Lack of care of the teeth is another cause. The bacteria hide in the food particles between the teeth and at the gum line forming plaque, which becomes tartar.
As the bacteria continue to grow, it goes into the gums, where pockets are formed. These pockets become convenient hiding places for colonies to form, and their destructive work progresses. Once this stage is reached, it begins to cause damage to the structures that hold your teeth in place, even damaging the bone. Eventually, you will start to see your teeth become loose, and then start to fall out.
Once the colonies have grown, it is not long before they start to get access to your blood stream. This enables them to travel throughout your entire body, possibly leading to many diseases.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The earliest evidence of gum disease is usually bleeding gums, which may also be inflamed. This is gingivitis. If ignored, and your teeth are not cared for consistently, it can become periodontitis, which is the more serious form of gum disease. Other symptoms include: sore gums, pus at the gum line, gum recession, the formation of pockets in your gums, and loose teeth.
Repairing the Damage from Gum Disease
Once periodontitis becomes serious, and pockets are formed on the gums, dental treatment is necessary to stop its progress. This can be very costly, and can be very involved. The less invasive treatment involves antibiotics, scaling and root planing. Surgical treatments involve the reduction of pockets, gum grafts, bone grafts, and more.
Reducing Inflammation for Better Health
The best time to stop inflammation of the gums for your better health is today. Start by taking a serious approach to the care of your teeth. Brush them at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day. You also want to eat healthy, in order to keep the bad bacteria at bay.
If you have gingivitis or periodontitis, or gum disease symptoms, and are looking for periodontal disease treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board certified Periodontist, can provide treatment and periodontal surgery for all phases of the disease. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and Grapevine, TX areas. For more information, or to set up a consultation, call his office today at 214-731-0123.