Gum disease is not just an oral health issue. In addition to increasing your chances of losing one or more teeth, having gum disease can also put you at risk of developing numerous other serious health conditions. Read on to learn more.
Diabetes is one of the many overall health conditions that is closely linked to your dental health. The connection between diabetes and gum disease goes both ways: people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease, and people with gum disease may have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes. When plaque accumulates on your teeth and gums, the inflammation that results can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Some people with advanced periodontitis have a difficult time controlling their blood glucose levels and may develop type two diabetes without even realizing it.
There is also a relationship between heart disease and gum disease. Both conditions have shared risk factors such as tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption, but some researchers also believe that gum disease and heart disease are related in other ways. The inflammation that occurs in your gums when you have periodontal disease could contribute to inflammation in your heart, or the bacteria in your mouth could spread to your cardiovascular system and lead to heart disease. More research needs to be done in this area to prove a definitive correlation, however.
Pregnant women who have gum disease have a greater risk of both pre-term labor and other birth problems, such as low birth weight. This is believed to be due to the hormone changes that occur during pregnancy, which can result in inflammation of the gums. Pregnant women should be aware of this risk and remain diligent about their oral hygiene and routine dental checkups throughout pregnancy.
There is evidence to suggest a link between gum disease and many other medical conditions, including stroke, kidney problems, dementia, Alzheimer's, asthma and other breathing problems, and even certain cancers. It is essential to take care of your teeth and gums not only for your oral health, but for your overall health as well. Call us to learn more about how to keep your gums healthy.