Periodontal Disease and Its Systemic Link
May 29th, 2014
If the thought alone of harmful bacteria colonizing inside your mouth and creating pockets in your gums that can lead to tooth decay, loose teeth, swelling, and bleeding doesn’t make you want to brush your teeth right away, this might. Research is showing periodontal disease, or gum disease, has a systemic link to several other diseases. Both the bacteria and the inflammation that is associated with periodontal disease are responsible for the links. So if bleeding gums doesn’t motivate you to practice proper oral care, helping managing a list of other disease might. Here are a few of those diseases:
Research has shown that periodontal disease can increase your risk of heart disease. While the direct relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease has yet to be proven, many scientists believe that the inflammation that periodontal disease causes may hold responsibility for the association. As well, along with heart disease, periodontal disease can exacerbate other heart conditions. If you are being treated for periodontal disease, make sure to inform your dentist and physician to help determine if you condition requires specific attention.
Studies have shown that patients with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. As a result, the disease can raise blood sugar and have an increased effect on diabetic complication. Patients with diabetes are more likely to contract infections including periodontal disease. Many doctors consider periodontal disease a complication of diabetes.
Patients unaware of their diabetes or those who do not have their condition under control are at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. As well, not taking proper care of your gums can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. If you or someone you know has diabetes, it is extremely important to keep a stringent schedule to oral care.
Pregnancy/ Preterm Birth
Many studies have associated periodontal disease with preterm birth. One study showed women with periodontal disease, compared to those without, were more likely to deliver babies that were preterm or had a low birth weight. While more studies must be conducted to understand the relationship and determine the exact causes, we encourage all expecting mothers to be as healthy as they can be and to keep a strict eye on their gums, among other areas of the body.
Last, research has shown that the bacteria found in the gums and mouth from periodontal disease can find its way into the lungs to assist in causing respiratory diseases.
While studies are still very new to finding the association between periodontal disease and other complications, the important message to understand is that proper oral hygiene including brushing, flossing, and mouthwash can only help you. Lack of proper care can result in periodontal disease, which in turn can create other complications throughout your body. If you believe you might be developing periodontal disease or are experiencing swollen/sore gums, contact Water Tower Dental today. We can help set you on the right track to better oral hygiene and all-around better health.