Gum Disease and Overall Health
Gum disease develops when oral bacteria grow along the gum line, feeding on sugars and depositing plaque acids on the teeth. This causes the gums to become inflamed and irritated. They appear reddened and may bleed during brushing. In advanced gum disease, oral bacteria infect pockets of tissue deep below the gum line and as gum disease progresses this may cause abscesses and severe infection of the jaw bone.
In the long-term gum disease can lead to extensive tooth loss, but while this is a serious issue, the effects of gum disease are not confined to the mouth. Recent medical research shows that the oral bacteria that cause gum disease can actually move from sites of infection in the mouth to new parts of the body.
How Gum Disease Influences Whole-Body Health
In advanced gum disease, the infection spreads to deep oral tissues. From here, the bacteria can gain access to the bloodstream. Once they do, the bacteria can potentially spread to and infect any other part of the body. Gum disease therefore has the potential to influence a wide range of other disease processes. It’s believed that gum disease may play a role in vascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and arthritis, for instance.
- Gum disease may contribute to the development of vascular disease, leading to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Diabetic people with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar than people who don’t have gum disease.
- Gum disease may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease or may make Alzheimer’s symptoms worse in people with this neurological condition.
- For people with rheumatoid arthritis, having gum disease may make arthritis symptoms worse. However, treating the gum disease may improve some rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Tips for Keeping Teeth and Gums in Great Shape
Gum disease has serious consequences—much more so than previously thought—but it is a disease that while common, is entirely preventable. With consistent at-home and professional oral health care, both gum disease and tooth decay can be kept at bay.
• Brush at least twice a day, floss once a day, and use an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
• Maintain a diet that’s low in sugar and high in nutritious whole foods.
• See your dentist 1 to 2 times a year, or more often if they recommend it.
Call Bauer Dental Associates in Okatie Today!
To keep your teeth healthy and attractive, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Bauer. He provides conscientious and expert dental care to people living in Okatie and surrounding communities.