Overall Health and Your Gums

Categories: Patient Education

Overall Health and Gum Disease:

Recent studies have linked periodontal disease (gum and bone disease) with several serious health conditions: heart and stroke, respiratory diseases, diabetes, and premature and low birth weight babies. As with smoking, high cholesterol and obesity, gum disease may be a risk factor for these conditions. It is thought that the disease causing bacteria in periodontal disease travels through the blood stream contributing to or possibly causing health problems.

Most adults have some form of gum disease. A bacterial infection which usually starts in the gums (gingivitis) and if untreated, spreads to the bone (periodontitis). Eventual tooth loss will occur if this disease process is not treated.

The Heart and Gum Disease:

Studies suggest that the gum disease causing bacteria may travel through the bloodstream and add to the formation of plaque that clog the arteries. One U.S. study found a higher incidence of heart and stroke disease in patients with moderate to severe gum disease than those with healthy mouths.

The Lungs and Gum Disease:

Scientists believe that gum disease may increase the risk of lung infections and worsen existing conditions such as emphysema and bronchitis. This can result when the disease causing bacteria from the oral cavity is inhaled into the lungs.