Periodontal Disease Affects Your Overall Health

Vigorous research studies have shown that there are chronic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, as well as others which are closely linked with gum disease and diabetes.

Periodontal disease is defined as chronic inflammation of the gum tissue. Some signs and symptoms include bleeding of the gums, swelling, redness in areas, and pain. This is a periodontal infection which is located below the gum line. It is brought about by the presence of disease-causing bacteria in the oral cavity. This condition can be resolved by the patient’s application of appropriate oral hygiene measures. It is important to note that although this does not cure any disease already present, but it may halt the progression of the disease, reduce the risk of further gum disease, as well as reduce the expansion of other related systemic conditions.

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What are the common factors associated with periodontal disease?

Gum Disease and Diabetes

Recent research has shown that patients with prior diabetic conditions are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease. It is confirmed that periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels, which makes controlling the amount of glucose in the blood more difficult. Therefore, when a patient who is diagnosed with diabetes has periodontal disease, it can potentially worsen the pre-existing medical condition.  A diabetic patient’s blood vessels can be thickened, which makes it harder for the body to process heightened blood sugar levels. This excess blood sugar can create an effective breeding ground for bacteria, and consequently cause gum disease.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

There are numerous concepts which link the relation between periodontitis and heart disease. The first being that oral bacterial strains, which cause periodontal disease, attach and circulate into the blood circulatory system, and attach themselves to coronary arteries. Blood clots can be formed which constricts the coronary arteries, leading to a potentially fatal heart attack.  Secondly, the inflammation that periodontal disease causes can bring about plaque build-up.  Such build-ups can cause arteries to swell, which can lead to heart conditions or worsen any existing conditions of the heart. It is suggested in an article by the American Academy of Periodontology, that patients whose bodies have reacted to periodontal disease have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Gum disease and Pregnancy Complications

Due to hormone fluctuations in a woman’s body, especially during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, women are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease compared to men. Research suggests that pregnant women with periodontal disease are at risk for preeclampsia, premature babies and delivering underweight babies.

  • During the period when a woman is giving birth, there is a marked increase in the level of prostaglandin (a chemical to help induce labor) in their bodies. Increased levels of prostaglandin might trigger labor early, and thereby increase the chance of delivering babies who have not reached the ideal weight for newborns.
  • Periodontal disease may also increase C-reactive proteins. This amplifies the inflammatory response of the body, causing an increased risk of preeclampsia and low birth weights in babies.

Respiratory Disease

The bacteria that causes gum disease has been demonstrated to worsen and cause conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Bacteria which comes from the mouth can be taken into the body by means of inhalation, and they can colonize the lung tissues.  This can lead to serious bacterial infections.  Consequently, it is proven in research that infections which cause COPD can be connected to periodontitis.

Besides the risk of bacteria, the inflammation in gum tissue may cause severe inflammation along the linings of the lungs, which may lead to pneumonia.  In patients with persistent respiratory problems, this can cause their immune response to be weaker as a result, and bacteria has an increased risk of inhabiting the area beneath the gum line.

If you have inquiries or concerns about how periodontal disease affects overall health, please do not feel hesitant to ask your Oakbrook dentist about it.

Call today and know that we care about your overall health and your smile!

Or visit us at our dental office conveniently located at Summit Ave, Oak Brook Terrace, IL.