Did you know that nearly 50% of adults over 30 have gum disease? Also known as periodontal disease, this condition causes inflammation of your gums. If your gums are red and swollen, and bleed when you brush your teeth, it’s likely that you have some form of gum disease.
But your gum health doesn’t impact just your oral health. Gum disease can lead to health problems such as dementia, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, premature births, and low birth weight in babies. The good news is this disease is preventable and treatable, with proper dental care.
Effects of Gum Infections
There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is characterized by:
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- An increase in space between teeth
- Receding gums
If you do not treat gingivitis properly, it can become periodontitis. This is advanced-stage gum disease and you’ll see pockets between your gums and teeth. These pockets collect bacteria, which can infect your teeth and the bones surrounding the teeth.
When periodontitis progresses, you’ll experience additional bone loss, receding gums, infections, and painful abscesses when the infection spreads below the gums.
The Link Between Physical and Oral Health
The strongest link between physical and real health is the relationship between diabetes and gum disease. When you have diabetes, your immune system is often compromised. This makes it harder for you to fight off infections in your gums.
Your periodontal tissues also break down quicker because healing takes longer.
Gum disease also can produce higher levels of HbA1C, which is a type of glucose-linked hemoglobin. This means that your gum disease can impact your diabetes and vice versa.
Keeping up on your oral health is always important, but even more important if you also have diabetes. See your dentist regularly and follow proper brushing and flossing recommendations.
Gum Disease and Heart Health
Gum disease is also connected to heart health. The reason is not entirely clear, but researchers speculate that the bacteria in infected gum tissue enter your blood and travel throughout your circulatory system. When this happens, plaque accumulates in your arteries.
Other Health Conditions
There are also studies that say that rheumatoid arthritis makes gum disease worse and that people with RA are more likely to lose their teeth than people without RA.
Poor oral health can also impact the health of your children. Research shows pregnant women with gum disease have a higher risk of delivering a preterm baby, a higher risk of preeclampsia, and a higher likelihood of delivering a baby with low birth weight.
Fight Gum Disease with Regular Dental Care
Gum disease has many negative impacts on your health. One of the best ways to prevent and treat gum disease is through regular visits to your dentist. Keep your teeth and gums healthy to maintain your overall health.
If you suffer from gum disease and have tooth loss, bone damage, or receding gums, contact us to learn more about our dental implant procedures. We can help you bring back a beautiful smile.