Why Gum Disease Is Often Linked To Systemic Health

Why Gum Disease Is Often Linked To Systemic Health

Many people believe that their annual trips to the dentist can be ignored and that they can take care of their teeth all by themselves. But what they don’t know is that dental cleanings every six months can protect the rest of their health. Did you know that periodontal disease can be linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other systemic disorders? Here’s why you should focus on the health of your teeth.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a gum disease that is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and is the main reason why you should seek an awesome sandy utah dentist. It is an oral infection that causes the gums and underlying bone to break down, which can cause the teeth to become loose and even fall out. Allowing periodontal disease to continue untreated can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatic and respiratory diseases, and other illnesses.

Systemic Diseases Caused By Periodontal Disease

Some of the most common systemic diseases that can be caused by periodontitis include:

  • Cardiovascular disease: gum disease makes existing heart conditions worse, meaning that those who have gum disease are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease. Oral bacteria can travel through the blood vessels and cause plaque to build up, causing the restriction of blood flow. Periodontitis also leads to inflammation, which can damage the blood vessels and cause blood clots that can clog arteries.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: periodontitis has been identified as a “probable risk factor” for Alzheimer’s. Those who had gum disease for 10 years were more likely to have dementia, and those with Alzheimer’s who also had gum disease had a sharp decline over a six-month period.
  • Rheumatic diseases: this is also a result of inflammation, which can spread throughout the body. Advanced gum disease is common in those who have rheumatoid arthritis. Other chronic inflammatory diseases include IBS (inflammatory bowel disease) and lupus.
  • Diabetes: those who have poor control over their Type II diabetes tend to be more susceptible to gum disease and have a decreased ability to fight infection. This is because of the higher level of glucose that is present in saliva that provides food for the bacteria living in the mouth.
  • Respiratory diseases: the harmful bacteria in the mouth can also spread to the lungs, increasing the risk of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema.

How To Prevent Periodontitis

Because of the connection between periodontal disease and these systemic conditions, it’s important that you have good dental hygiene habits.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day.
  2. Looks for signs of gum disease, including tender, red gums that bleed when you floss or brush.
  3. Stop smoking, as it causes inflammation in the gums and can increase oral bacteria.
  4. Visit your dentist on a regular basis (every six months).
  5. Watch your diet, as the ingestion of empty calories and sugary foods can wear down the enamel on your teeth.

With the careful management of your health and teeth, they’ll start to take care of each other so that you can keep both under control. If you fear that you might be suffering from periodontitis, then schedule a trip to your dentist immediately.