When you suffer from gum disease, it can hurt more than just your teeth. While tooth loss should be a big concern for everyone, links between gum disease and other serious conditions exist, as well.
One of the first links that set off alarms for doctors and dentists alike was the discovery of the link between periodontal disease and heart attacks. When a certain bacteria associated with gum disease is present in the mouth, patients have a higher risk of atherosclerosis in the carotid artery in the neck. Also known as “hardening of the arteries” atherosclerosis created a higher risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Periodontal disease is an infection in your gums and your body’s natural response to an infection is inflammation. Some researchers believe that it is this systemic inflammation caused by gum disease that actually increases your risk of a serious heart condition.
The symptoms of gum disease include pain, redness, sensitivity, bleeding, recession, tooth mobility, bad breath, pus, and swelling. When it is addressed in the early stages, gum disease is sometimes reversible and much easier to treat. When left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss, serious pain, and other systemic problems such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, and exacerbate certain respiratory illnesses such as COPD, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia. In fact, recent studies even show a link between breast cancer and gum disease.
Links to systemic illnesses and periodontal disease are bi-directional and complex. In order to determine the exact relationship, more research is required. For now, we know that people with gum disease have a higher risk for some very serious, and even life-threatening, conditions.
At Bond Family & Implant Dentistry, we treat cases of periodontal disease that range from mild (called gingivitis) to serious (called periodontitis) with specialized dental cleanings that remove the gum disease causing bacteria.
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