While you might think that all your brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments are for the sole sake of your teeth and gums, the effects of oral health actually stretch way beyond the mouth. Thanks to the harmful bacteria (associated with periodontal disease) that thrive inside the mouth, your dental health – whether good or bad – has consequences that reach just about every part of your body.
People with periodontal disease are at an elevated risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Bacteria from gum infections can enter the bloodstream, contributing to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and increasing a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and endocarditis (an infection of the lining of the heart).
People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum disease, but research has shown that gum disease can also increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes by elevating blood sugar.
Periodontal disease also puts people at risk of developing respiratory problems and lung infections. The increased amount of bacteria present in the mouth due to periodontitis increases the probability that an individual will breathe in bacteria, leading to a variety of infections.
Research has shown a strong link between the inflammatory response caused by periodontal disease and the development of rheumatoid arthritis.
Poor oral health has been associated with pregnancy risks including premature births and low birth weight. It’s also associated with other reproductive problems such as erectile dysfunction and infertility in women.
Studies have shown a strong link between gum disease and dementia. Gum disease causes general inflammation which can damage brain cells. Additionally, bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and harm the nervous system, leading to memory loss associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Periodontal (gum) disease occurs when an overgrowth of harmful bacteria infects a person’s gums. Signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen, receding, or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, and persistent bad breath. If you notice any of the signs of periodontal disease, it’s important to schedule a dental exam right away. The best way to deal with gum disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Brush, floss, and schedule professional dental cleanings regularly to keep your mouth’s bacterial growth in check. With routine care, your gums, and the rest of your body can stay healthy! To learn more about periodontal disease and how oral health affects the rest of your body, schedule a dental exam at Schaffer Dental Excellence in San Diego today.