Millions of people are affected by gum disease every year. According to some CDC studies, almost half of Americans above the age of 30 had some form of gum disease at least once in their life. Symptoms are really hard to notice if you’re not a dental professional, and most people find out that they have gum disease only when they go to their dentist for an oral exam.
Problems with our oral health can have an impact on our entire body. Neglecting it can lead to gum disease and if left untreated, it can cause life-threatening health problems. Poor oral health can present itself with a series of health conditions and by understanding them, you can prevent them from occurring.
How are gum diseases developed?
The progression of gum disease usually starts by the buildup of plaque and tartar. Bacteria, found in plaque release toxins which can then infect your gums and bone structure. As a result, you can lose your teeth or have chronic inflammation.
The beginning of an infection can be painless, so many patients don’t display any symptoms of gum disease. Symptoms usually get more prevalent once you reach your 30s or 40s.
Signs of gum disease
You can suspect that you have gum disease if you display one (or more) of the following symptoms:
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth (either to hot/cold or to certain foods)
- Bad breath
- Red gums that sometimes bleed
- Receding gums
Gum disease, usually starts as simple gingivitis or gum inflammation. At that time, this is already an onset of periodontal disease. This is a chronic gum inflammation caused by an infection and it requires lifelong care. There is no definitive cure for it, so it can be managed, but never cured. Left untreated, it can cause a cascade of problems including:
Chronic inflammation can quickly become a problem if our body’s immune system starts to attack healthy cells. This is why periodontal disease is linked to heart disease.
- People that have poor dental hygiene are far more likely (about three times more) to develop heart disease
- Gum disease can have bad impact on our blood pressure and can disrupt the effect of high blood pressure medication
- Patients that have gum disease have a 49% higher chance of having a heart attack
At Premier Family Dental we encourage our patients to visit their dentist regularly. Not only for periodic checkups, cleaning etc. but also to monitor cases of periodontal disease that still don’t show any symptoms.
We all know that bacteria can thrive in sweet and sugary environment. When you have high glucose levels in your body, bacteria can spread rapidly and can attack your gums and teeth, causing gingivitis first, which can then turn into periodontal disease. On the other hand, gum inflammation (periodontal disease) can increase the blood sugar level and put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Bacteria that attack your gums, will eventually get into your bloodstream and disrupt your immune system. In order to combat the infection, your body will increase the blood sugar level.
Gum disease causes rheumatoid arthritis
Some bacteria can be found on both patients that have gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. This type of bacteria is well-known for causing an autoimmune response in the body. Once the body’s immune system is overactive, it can cause joint inflammation.
Chronic inflammation and gum inflammation can also affect other health conditions such as Pneumonia, COPD and Asthma. Gum disease and inflammation forces the immune system to go into “overdrive” and in a body-wide inflammation mode. In this “crossfire” lungs and airways can be affected as well.
Since chronic inflammation puts you at higher risk if respiratory problems, you are also more likely to contract Covid-19 (which is a severe respiratory syndrome) and have serious complications.
In order to properly maintain your oral health, and thus your overall health, it’s imperative that you visit your dentist regularly. So the next time you brush your teeth, rinse, floss and schedule a dentist appointment, know that you’re not doing it only for your oral health, but for your entire body.