Gum disease isn’t just a health condition that affects the mouth. It has been linked to a variety of other illnesses and diseases in different ways. If you have gum disease, it could lead to additional problems or it could be a sign of another health condition. Looking after your oral health to prevent gum disease is important and if you know that you already have gum disease, controlling it will help you to decrease the risk of developing other issues. Here’s what you need to know about gum disease and how it relates to other health conditions.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when the tissues that support the teeth become infected. When plaque builds up, the bacteria can lead to infection, which can cause a number of problems. Some people experience a lot of inflammation and others might find that the inflammation won’t clear up. If gum disease isn’t treated, it can cause pain, bleeding gums, abscesses, and even tooth loss and loss of bone in the jaw. Gum inflammation can also affect the bloodstream, which might slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over time. This could lead to other health problems in other parts of the body.
The Link Between Gum Disease and Other Conditions
Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health conditions. These include stroke and heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. While the evidence isn’t entirely clear for all health conditions that have been linked to gum disease, it could be connected to issues related to pregnancy, dementia, and more.
Gum disease may be connected to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. One way that gum disease might affect heart health is through the way that bad cholesterol affects the body. People who have periodontitis (another name for gum disease) also often have risk factors that are linked to heart problems, such as being smokers, having problems controlling their weight or blood pressure, or being sedentary.
Tooth loss and gum disease have been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research suggests that the more tooth loss someone experiences, the greater their chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis is. Tooth loss occurs when periodontal disease becomes acute, but it can be treated before this point to help prevent tooth loss.
Gum disease has even been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Some types of oral bacteria might be involved in the development of some inflammatory pathologies at remote organ sites, which includes Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping up good oral health can help you to stay healthy as you get older.
Preventing Gum Disease
To prevent gum disease, it’s important to focus on your oral health. Daily brushing and flossing helps to keep plaque away and prevent infection. Improving your overall health by doing things such as quitting smoking, exercising more and eating a healthy diet will help to improve your oral health and prevent a range of health conditions. Your dentist can help you to maintain good oral health by offering advice and performing regular checkups of your teeth, gums and mouth.