If you are living with gingivitis, then you might wonder why your dentist seems so concerned over your inflamed gum tissue. Although it might seem unlikely, gum disease can have far-reaching impacts on the human body and could put you at a higher risk for fatal illnesses.
This guide lists three serious health conditions linked to periodontal disease, and why you listen to your dentist if he or she seems concerned about your gums.
Oral bacteria feeds off of the sugars present on your teeth and in your saliva, which is why having a condition that naturally increases these sugars can be so detrimental to your health.
Research has shown that while diabetics are three times as likely to develop gum disease, there is an inverse relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease, which means having periodontal disease puts you at risk for developing diabetes.
While the correlation between diabetes and periodontal disease is still being studied, researchers suspect that it may have something to do with diet and oral hygiene habits.
However, whether you have diabetes and are concerned about periodontal disease or vice versa, both conditions tend to be more severe when they are coupled with one another.
For example, if you have diabetes, then gum infections tend to develop into larger issues because your body isn’t as efficient at ridding itself of dangerous infections. Additionally, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, people who have periodontal disease can have a more difficult time controlling their blood glucose, which can impact their daily lives significantly.
If you have a family history of diabetes or periodontal disease, then be on the lookout for symptoms of either condition. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, then make it a point to visit with your dentist frequently to check for the symptoms of gum disease.
- Heart Disease
The early stages of gum disease might seem pretty harmless, but the red, inflamed gums can quickly morph into periodontal disease, which can allow oral bacteria to seep into your bloodstream. Unfortunately, when these microscopic pathogens are allowed to roam throughout your body, they can cause serious inflammation that can be especially hard on your heart.
Because inflammation has been tied to the tightening and hardening of arteries, periodontal disease has been directly linked to problems like heart attacks, endocarditis, and even strokes. In fact, researchers have even discovered oral bacteria present in the plaque deposits lining the heart, demonstrating just how important it is to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined regularly.
To keep your heart safe, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends meeting with your dentist frequently for checkups. While traditional wisdom states that people should see their dentists twice a year, updated recommendations state that patients should visit with their dental provider as frequently as their dentist recommends, based on their personal dental health.
For this reason, if you are living with periodontal disease, it may be necessary to visit your dentist more frequently for a deep cleaning and fluoride treatment to prevent decay.
The inflammation caused by periodontal disease doesn’t just affect the heart and the blood vessels of the brain. Because the toxins created by oral bacteria can also create certain responses throughout the body, periodontal disease is linked to certain types of cancer.
In addition to a connection to oral and pharyngeal cancers, periodontal disease is linked to lung cancers, since inhaling through your mouth can move oral bacteria into your lung tissue. Pancreatic cancer is also tied to periodontal disease; the pancreas is the organ that creates insulin, regulating blood sugar.
Periodontal disease is serious, but with early, proactive, state-of-the-art treatment, you can prevent the condition from causing other health effects. Here at Crest Hill Family Dental, we can help with everything from deep cleanings and careful preventative dentistry to laser periodontal treatments to zap away hidden bacteria. Give our office a call today to schedule your next checkup.