Just How Damaging is Gum Disease to The Body?

Gum disease is so common that the diagnosis of it is losing its impact among patients (until they are presented with the cost of treating the disease). Beyond the hassle and cost of treatment for periodontal disease is a much more serious reason for concern. There is a very strong link between gum disease, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. A causal relationship is not for certain, but heart and gum disease share the same risk factors. Additionally, sources state that up to 91% of heart disease patients also have periodontitis, while only 66% of those with heart disease do.

Bacteria and Gum Disease

As easy and mundane a task it is to brush and floss regularly, regular maintenance is crucial to the health of your gums. Without regular brushing and flossing, bacteria quickly accumulate around the teeth and gum tissue. They slowly invade the teeth as well as the gums, pulling the gums away from the teeth. This creates pockets within the gums that provide a perfect breeding ground for even more bacterial overgrowth. As gingivitis, or mild gum disease, escalates to a more severe form of gum disease known as periodontal disease, these pockets deepen even further.

How Bacteria in the Mouth Enter the Blood Stream

Periodontal disease causes the gums to become infected, which in turn leads to inflammation, the body’s attempt at attacking infection. If gum disease is not handled soon enough, under these conditions of infection and inflammation, the gums and alveolar process (which hold the teeth in place) slowly start to disintegrate. Eventually, bacteria make their way into the porous blood vessels, a passageway to the rest of the body.

How Bacteria Can Clog Arteries, a Factor for Heart Disease and Stroke

Bacteria can nick the artery walls as they travel through them. The artery walls create a kind of foamy texture at these points of injury, onto which LDL cholesterol particles attach. White blood cells attach themselves as well, creating a blockage in the artery. The resulting increase in blood pressure is a factor for heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes is a condition where the patient’s body does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is used to convert sugar into energy. Without it, one is left with very high blood sugar levels, which lead to a whole host of other problems, including a general increased risk of infection in the body (e.g., gum disease). Interestingly, inflamed gums (and inflammation in general) can further impair the body’s ability to control blood sugar as well as its ability to utilize insulin.

Don’t let gum disease go undetected and untreated. Brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist for regular cleanings. Your mouth and body depend on it.

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About the Author
Denture Clinic, Inc – Proudly serving the Seattle, WA area for over 25 years. Whether your need dental cleaning, teeth whitening, dentures, or dental implants, we have the skills to make you smile!

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