Periodontal disease — or “gum disease” as most people call it — destroys the gum tissue and bone that support your teeth. But could there be health risks of gum disease that go beyond your mouth?
In fact, repeated scientific studies have shown a strong correlation between gum disease and systemic health conditions like:
Cardiovascular Disease (Including Stroke and Heart Attack)
Active gum disease allows oral bacteria to spread directly into your bloodstream via infected oral tissues. When gums detach and bleed, plaque bacteria detach and transfer straight into your blood supply. From there, the infection triggers inflammation throughout your body. The plaque can become lodged inside of blood vessels and your heart.
The excess of bacteria in your bloodstream inside of blood vessels then increases your risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. When you eliminate those bacteria from your mouth, your immune and cardiovascular system gets a much needed boost.
Reproductive Health Complications
Active periodontal disease can affect the reproductive health of men and women alike.
Men with gum disease may have a higher risk of erectile dysfunction; in contrast, those who complete gum treatments with their dentist typically see an improvement in their ED symptoms within just a few months.
Women with periodontal disease are more prone to preeclampsia, preterm labor, and stillbirth during pregnancy. It’s thought that the oral bacteria transfer directly through the placenta into their womb.
Couples where one of the partners have gum disease may see more difficulty trying to conceive. The good news is that when the partner with the infection is treated by their dentist, the couple is more likely to conceive in a shorter timeframe.
Pneumonia and Respiratory Diseases
Inhaled oral bacteria allows germs to affix themselves immediately within the respiratory tract. Individuals who have gum infections are statistically more likely to develop pneumonia and other types of respiratory diseases.
Over the past year, we’ve also seen that people with gum disease who contract COVID-19/coronavirus are more likely to need a hospital respirator while receiving medical care. Although we’re still learning about this disease, the fact that oral bacteria can be dangerous to the lungs is likely to blame for this phenomenon.
Last but not least, we know that periodontitis can impact blood glucose levels. So even if you’re taking insulin or trying to manage your diabetes with a modified diet, your poor oral hygiene could totally counteract those efforts and cause unstable blood glucose levels.
The great news is that if you address your oral infection at the same time as managing diabetes with conventional methods, you’re more likely to see an improvement in your health. They’re essentially two different conditions that play off of one another and worsen unless they’re treated jointly.
Schedule a Gum Check Today
How long has it been since you’ve had a periodontal exam or gum screening? If you’re not sure, then it’s been too long! Call Central Valley Dentistry in Phoenix today to request your next checkup. Saving your smile could help save your life!