Gum disease and its health problems.
People tend to prioritize their teeth over everything else mouth related because they are far more apparent and their ailments much more conspicuous than other gum diseases. For many of those who suffer from gum disease, the cautionary signs aren’t important until their condition has progressed into more serious stage and became a serious periodontal disease whose treatment is prolonged, costly and painful. This oral health problem starts when plaque begins to set in the small gap between your teeth and gums. This plaque consists of tiny bits of food, mucus and bacteria that can easily lead to an infection which jeopardizes the health of both the gum and the teeth. Gum disease has been linked to a number of other, much more serious bodily ailments including heart problems.
Associated health issues
As medical researchers uncover the role that inflammation plays in the development of major health conditions, the relationship between gum disease, which is basically a type of inflammation present in the mouth, and other serious ailments is also becoming apparent:
- Diabetes: It has been found that those suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk of protracting periodontal disease, in all likelihood because diabetes provides well-nourished environment for the bacteria to grow and cause infections. Those diabetics who have unregulated blood sugar levels are at an even greater risk of catching the oral infection. This relationship works the other way around as well. According to research done at Columbia University, periodontal disease can lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Heart disease: Studies reveal that there is a connection between this condition and gum health. Once again, inflammation is thought to be at the core of the relationship. The bacteria responsible for gum diseases (especially Staphylococcus Aureus) can enter the blood stream through diseased gym and affects the heart’s valves, so it is highly recommended to take it seriously. If you are already suffering from heart disease especially if you are putting prosthetic valves, then gum disease can make it much worse. You may have to consult both your cardiologist and your dentist before you have your teeth treated.
- Osteoporosis: This condition could also be a contributing factor in tooth loss. Low calcium level can make the tooth decay faster causing inflammations and gum diseases.
- Respiratory disease: The bacteria that start to thrive in the gums due to periodontal disease could enter the respiratory track and lead to serious illnesses such as pneumonia.
- Cancer: A study has unveiled the higher likelihood of men suffering from a gum infection to develop various types of cancer: there is a 49% increased chance of kidney cancer, 54% that of pancreatic cancer and 30% of blood cancers.
Other medical conditions such as low birth weight, premature birth or strokes are also thought to be contributors to the development of this illness.
The worrying thing about this condition is that not only does it cause serious damage to your mouth, it could also be a symptom of something more serious e.g. a heart condition. To be safe, you should visit your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene to make sure that even if you develop gum disease, it never progresses to periodontal disease or progress to cause any systemic disease.
This blog post is an educational resource only and does not replace a medical consultation with a doctor .
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments. Your feedback welcome!