The bad breath, pain, and tooth sensitivity that go along with gum disease are bad enough. However, periodontitis can cause more than discomfort, swelling, or bleeding, tender gums. It can trigger health issues beyond your mouth and throughout your body. A highly preventable problem, gum disease is connected with heart, lung, and other health issues or may exacerbate them.
Researched Has Linked Gum Disease with General Health
In studies, researchers have found that people with various illnesses and gum disease have signs of both. Those with respiratory problems are included in this category. Gum disease has been linked to the incidence of acute bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and pneumonia. The thinking is that inflammation of the gums affects the body’s ability to fight off respiratory infection.
There is also an ongoing effort to explore the connection between bacteria that infect the gums and microbes found in the arteries of people with heart disease. Common risk factors may be in play. These include age, genetics, smoking habits, and conditions such as diabetes. People with periodontal disease have been found to be twice as vulnerable to cardiac and arterial disease. Also, oral bacteria have proteins that can cause clotting in the arteries, and excessive bacteria can clog the carotid artery, which serves the brain.
In addition, there may also be a link between gum disease and pregnancy/fertility. It can take months longer for a woman to conceive if she has persistent gum infections. Also, pregnancy and the hormones associated with it can increase the risk of gum disease. It can be treated in this case, but the nearly 40 percent of women who develop gum problems during pregnancy risk delivery problems if the issue isn’t treated.
Good Oral Hygiene Protects the Gums and Body
Poor dental health can affect the heart, arteries, lungs, and brain. If dental issues progress, leading to tooth loss, there is a risk for memory loss or early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Medical studies have identified inflammatory substances that can be released from a gum infection, which can trigger inflammatory response in the brain and kill off neurons.
Gum disease can be prevented with proper brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings. Therefore, you can lower the risk for developing other health problems that have been correlated with periodontal disease. The effects on the body can possibly be avoided with good oral hygiene and treating gum problems early.