How is Gum Disease Related to My Health?
Periodontal (gum) disease isn’t just a problem for your smile. It can also weaken your immune system, increase your chances of medical complications, and make it harder to recover from other types of infections.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
The connection between diabetes and gum disease is closely related. When one gets worse, the other seems to as well. Unfortunately, you can rarely treat or control one without addressing them both at the same time. They tend to take a cyclic approach where they need to be treated jointly in order to see any type of improvement.
What we frequently see is that—due to the overwhelming nature of the condition—people tend to want to address one or the other. Not both. But it’s essential that good diabetic health, medication, and an appropriate diet be a part of your gum disease treatment plan. That way when we remove the bacteria in your mouth, your immune system is ready to initiate the healing process. If your blood sugar is out of control, the oral infection most likely will not heal.
There’s also great news for diabetics. When they manage active periodontal disease, they almost always see their blood sugar levels stabilize. Even if they’re already trying different diets or taking medication. Since the bacteria influence your body’s glucose levels, removing it from your mouth is extremely effective at stabilizing blood sugar.
Your Respiratory Health
Inhaling oral bacteria can be a deadly side-effect if you are prone to pneumonia or respiratory disease. Older and immunocompromised individuals who have gum disease are statistically more likely to develop some type of a lung infection.
By practicing good oral hygiene and eliminating dental plaque on a regular basis, you can physically reduce the risk of inhaling infectious bacteria. In turn, you can keep your lungs healthier.
One example that we’ve seen in the past couple of years is a link between COVID pneumonia and gum disease. Hospital staff have found a high likelihood of patients requiring respirators when they already had an active periodontal infection. So, if you want to safeguard yourself against a serious COVID illness, flossing should follow right behind your vaccine!
Periodontitis and Reproductive Disorders
Did you know that gum disease can interfere with your reproductive health? Both men and women alike are affected. Active gum disease increases a man’s likeliness to experience ED or have difficulty treating their ED symptoms. And women with periodontitis are at a significantly higher risk of preeclampsia or stillbirth when pregnant.
When one or both partners have gum disease, couples are more likely to experience infertility and take a longer time trying to conceive. The good news is that studies have shown treating gum disease tends to shorten conception times, most likely due to eliminating the infection and bacterial strain on that partner’s immune system.
Heart and Brain Health
Oral bacteria can spread through bleeding gums into your bloodstream. From there, they can become lodged inside of your blood vessels, heart, and brain. Unfortunately, researchers have found that people with gum disease are more at risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
By eliminating dental plaque from under your gums, you can reduce bacterial strain inside of your body. That way your immune system doesn’t have to work as hard, and inflammatory responses improve. It turns out that flossing just might help save more than your smile after all!
Do I Have Gum Disease?
You may have active periodontal disease if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Large spaces between your teeth
- Gum recession
- Tooth mobility
- Gums that bleed easily
- Tartar buildup
- Bone loss (visible on your X-rays)
- Gum pocketing (seen during your dental exam)
Treatment for Periodontal Infections
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention and good oral hygiene! When you brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and plan regular dental cleanings, you keep your oral bacteria levels in check. The goal is to prevent plaque from calcifying along the gumlines, forming tartar deposits below the gums.
But if it’s been a while since your last cleaning and your gums bleed easily, we can help. A series of deep cleanings will remove the bacteria around your tooth roots, stabilizing those areas so that your gums can heal. Although bone can’t grow back, gum tissues can reattach.
Untreated gum disease worsens with time. It’s best to intercept periodontal infections as early as possible before severe bone loss occurs.
Reserve a Checkup Today
Are you due for a dental cleaning or exam? Call The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, today. Our world-renowned cosmetic dentist will work with you to develop a therapeutic care plan that puts your smile’s health first. Your body will thank you!
About Dr. Yazdan
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