Is There a Connection Between Gum Disease and Overall Health?
Gum disease (also referred to as periodontal disease) is a very common condition and, to some extent, will affect most individuals at some point. The key to combating the threat of gum disease is to continue daily brushing and flossing routines as recommended while maintaining regular dental appointments for exams and professional cleanings. Early detection and treatment of gum disease is essential to keeping the condition from progressing from a less severe stage (gingivitis) to a much more serious stage (periodontitis). In fact, it is very important for individuals to understand that gum disease can not only create risks to oral health, but it may also dramatically increase risks to overall health.
Receding gums, loose teeth, bleeding gums, and tooth loss are just some of the symptoms and risks to oral health that can result from untreated gum disease. What many people may not know, however, is that the bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease can have widespread effects on the body and vital organs. This is one example of what’s known as the “oral systemic health link,” which is defined as the connection between the health of the mouth and the general health of the body.
Gum disease and periodontitis, as well as other oral conditions that can result in chronic and “silent” inflammation in the body, have been linked to:
- Heart disease/heart attack
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Autoimmune disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Sleep apnea
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
These are just a few of the debilitating and life-threatening conditions that have been associated to some extent with poor oral health… and the increase in risk is quite significant.
With all of this in mind, the good news is that gum disease—even severe stages of the condition—can be treated and measures can be taken to prevent it from getting worse. The best thing you can do to reduce the risk that gum disease progresses to more dangerous levels is to maintain an excellent at-home oral hygiene routine and have your teeth and gums evaluated at least twice each year. Here at Beautiful Smiles, Dr. Harold A. Pollack and his exceptional team of dental hygienists offer effective treatment options that have helped many patients successfully keep gum disease at bay.
To learn more, or to schedule an appointment here at Beautiful Smiles, please contact us today.