While the detrimental effects of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, have been carefully documented and highly publicized within the last few years, what people still don’t seem to realize is how bad periodontal disease is for you.
Not only does it cause bleeding gums and tooth loss, but recent studies have shown that periodontal disease may also be linked to other major health complications.
One possible reason may be that periodontal disease is a bacterial infection and that bacteria can travel anywhere throughout the body.
That being said, below are a few ways that periodontal disease can affect your overall health:
- It may harm your heart. People suffering from gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from heart complications, such as coronary artery disease, compared to those who don’t have gum disease. One theory is that harmful bacterial from your mouth can enter the blood stream and attach to fatty plaque in your hearts blood vessels, which can cause inflammation and increase your risk of blood clots that can trigger heart attacks.
- It may affect your memory. Some research has suggested there may be a link between gum disease and an increased risk of developing dementia. Other research has shown that periodontal problems may be associated with mild cognitive impairment, such as memory problems that make daily life more difficult. Experts believe that oral bacteria may spread to the brain through the nerve channels connected to the jaw or through the blood stream, and may contribute to the type of plaque that has been tied to Alzheimer’s.
- It may affect your breathing. Breathing in harmful bacteria has been known to cause respiratory infections, so what if that bacteria is living in your mouth? Periodontal disease may increase your risk of developing respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.
- It can make blood sugar harder to control. People that have diabetes are more likely to have gum disease, than those who don’t, and inflammation may be partly to blame. Diabetics are more susceptible to infections, including gum disease. Additional research has found that gum disease can make blood sugar harder to control, and that treating can help improve diabetes symptoms.
- It may cause problems with conception. Aside from pregnant women being more at risk to develop periodontal disease, it seems gum disease can also cause problems with conception. Those with periodontal disease may have a tougher time getting pregnant, while also increasing the chances of miscarriage.
Your oral health is extremely important to your overall health, so if this list doesn’t help you realize how bad periodontal disease is for you, then I don’t know what will!
If you are suffering from periodontal disease, be sure to keep it under control by brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing once and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Also, visit your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings on a regular basis.
For prevention or treatment options regarding periodontal disease, contact