Can Gum Disease Affect Your Overall Health?
Gum disease is a condition that develops as a result of a bacterial infection in your mouth. Plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth irritate your gums, leading to inflammation. Over time, gum disease worsens, leaving those affected, facing gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. Gum disease is commonly thought to only affect the health of the mouth. While it does have serious effects on your oral health, it can also impact your overall health as well. Raptou Family Dental can help.
Gum Disease and Your Lungs
When you have gum disease, there is an overabundance of bacteria in your mouth. If you breathe in through your mouth, there is a chance that some of the bacteria in your mouth can be inhaled into your lungs. The lungs are a warm, moist environment, perfect for fostering bacterial growth. Once in your lungs, the bacteria can lead to the development of issues such as pneumonia. If you have existing respiratory issues, such as COPD or asthma, the addition of extra bacteria can exacerbate these issues.
Gum Disease and Heart Health
Advanced gum disease can lead to bacteria from your mouth entering into your bloodstream. Once in your blood, the bacteria are then able to travel throughout your body. These bacteria trigger an inflammatory response from your immune system. Because of this, the blood vessels begin to swell. This restricts blood flow, which can increase your blood pressure, leading to a condition known as hypertension. Your arteries can also become blocked, which can lead to issues such as a heart attack or stroke. Bacteria can also infect the lining of your heart, leading to a condition known as endocarditis.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Bacteria in your bloodstream can affect the ability of your body to deal with sugars. This can lead to increased blood sugar levels, which can then lead to diabetes. If you are already living with diabetes, your risk for gum disease is increased. Diabetics often have a higher concentration of sugar in their saliva, which provides extra food for oral bacteria. If you do develop gum disease, it can impact how your body deals with sugars in your blood, which can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. This can result in serious complications. Your blood sugar levels can also become difficult to keep under control.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, your risk for gum disease increases. This is because the hormonal changes your body goes through affect how your gums react to plaque and oral bacteria. Your gums are more likely to become irritated and swollen. During pregnancy, gum disease does not just affect your oral health. It can also impact the health of your unborn child. Untreated gum disease can increase your risk for pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, and having a baby that is underweight. Low birth weight can cause serious complications for a newborn, including trouble staying warm, an increased risk for infections, breathing complications, and nervous system issues. More on Gum Disease and Pregnancy.
Treating gum disease is important for more than just restoring the health of your mouth. It is also essential for protecting your overall health as well. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Raptou Family Dental today at (614) 427-0449.