While most people understand that if they don’t practice regular brushing and quality overall oral hygiene, they will increase their risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Less commonly understood, however, is what potential harm gum disease presents to an individual’s overall health. Along with the unpleasant side effects of oral sores, loss of teeth, and bad breath, research has found links that suggest gum disease may impact more than just your oral health.
A number of recent studies have linked gum disease to a number of chronic illnesses, including heart failure, cancer, and lung disease. Because of the potential long-term health affects associated with gum disease, Dr. Berger wants to make sure every patient understands the potential surprising dangers linked to gum disease.
Periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease, can have dramatically negative impact on an individual’s health. The mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis, can cause gums to become swollen, red, and to bleed after brushing or flossing.
When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a far more serious form of gum disease where plaque spreads below the gum line, causing bacteria to build-up that irritates gum tissue. This causes an inflammatory reaction which results in the body attempting to destroy the bone and tissue structure that hold teeth into position.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Periodontitis has earned the reputation as a “silent affliction,” due to how subtle the disease’s symptoms are early on, often failing to become noticeable until the condition progresses. Some potential warning signs to keep an eye out for include: tender, swollen, or red gums; bleeding during eat or after brushing; separating or loose teeth; painful sores.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to contact Dr. Berger immediately. Your condition will not improve without treatment and is likely to worsen.
Links to Illness
Research conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology and other organizations have found troubling links between gum disease and other serious, long-term health conditions. For example, individuals suffering from diabetes have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease when compared to patients without diabetes. This link has become so well established that many health experts now consider periodontal disease as a complication of diabetes.
A number of recent studies have also found links between periodontal disease and lung disease. Researchers have discovered that oral bacteria can move into the lungs, and cause respiratory diseases like pneumonia to develop. Stroke and heart disease have also ben linked to periodontal disease, most likely due the inflammatory response caused in the body by bacteria. Additionally, researchers have found that men suffering from gum disease were 49 percent more likely to develop cancer of the kidneys and 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
Don’t take chances with your oral or overall health. Talk with your choice for Sonora dentists: Dr. Paul Berger, about the state of your oral health and what it can mean to maintaining a healthy body for years to come.