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What is Gum Disease?

Gum or periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bone-supporting teeth.

Does Gum Disease affect your Total Body Health?

Yes! There are at least 12 illnesses suggested between gum disease and other illnesses and conditions.

85% of US adults suffer from some degree of gum disease, making it one of the most common diseases in America – more common than cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease.

Many people aren’t aware of the connection between gum disease and other illnesses. Learning about the connection between gum disease and other diseases and the overall importance of oral health is critical to improving gums and general health.

The top illnesses that are affected by gum disease are:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

Heart Disease

People with gum disease are 2x as likely to have heart disease. Doctors know that bacteria and other inflammatory toxins below the gum line travel via vascular pathways in the mouth throughout the body, including to the heart. Reducing any amount of bacteria in the body, including that present in gum disease, will reduce the risk of heart disease.

Stroke

People with severe gum disease have a 3x to 4x higher risk of brain stroke. A new study has found that people with gum disease are around twice as likely to have a stroke. Researchers have discovered when the gums bleed and become inflamed. It changes how blood and oxygen flow to the brain 1. The link between gum disease and stroke is the inflammation present for both and the hardening of the arteries that results from it. Experts agree that by preventing gum disease, you decrease the risk factor for certain types of stroke.

Cancer

Several studies show strong evidence linking gum disease with an increased risk of oral cancer and pancreatic cancer. Gum disease could lead to increased pancreatic carcinogenesis because individuals with periodontal disease have higher levels of oral bacteria and higher levels of nitrosamines, which are carcinogens, in their oral cavity.

Diabetes

Nearly 22% of diabetes patients have gum disease. People with diabetes are more likely to develop severe gum disease, causing more tooth loss than those without it. Gum disease has also led to difficulties in people with diabetes regulating their glucose levels. Controlling blood sugar levels decreases the risk of gum disease and other complications from diabetes.

Impeccable Smiles says to watch out for these signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Painful chewing
  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums that bleed easily
  • The gap between teeth and gums
  • Bad breath and halitosis
  • Pus discharge from the gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Receding gums or longer-appearing teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

Gum Disease Treatment Options:

  • Professional dental cleaning
  • Scaling and root planning
  • Medications
  • Antiseptic chips or antibiotic microspheres
  • Antibiotic gel
  • Enzyme suppressant

Contact a Dentist in Lutz

You can’t reverse moderate gum disease can’t be reversed; it can be treated to prevent further damage and tooth loss. Treatment can also ease your symptoms and start your journey to healthy gums. Without treatment, it can progress to advanced periodontal disease, leading to further complications. Dr. DeLuca specializes in Holistic Dentistry. Call us today to schedule your appointment for better health.

1. Fagundes NCF et al. (2019) ‘Periodontitis As A Risk Factor For Stroke: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis’, Vascular Health and Risk Management (August 2019), available at https://doi.org/10.2147/VHRM.S204097.