Nearly half of American adults over 30 suffer from gum disease. Gum disease occurs in stages, ranging from mild gingivitis to more serious periodontitis. If you are experiencing symptoms of gingivitis, such as some swelling or slight bleeding in your gums, you may not realize the potential risk lurking in your mouth. The truth is, if gum disease is not eradicated or properly treated by your dentist, it can lead to several unsettling health problems – including those beyond your mouth.
Periodontal infections begin simply, when bacteria and its acid byproducts get trapped along the gum line. This causes the soft tissues of the mouth to become irritated and inflamed. While gingivitis does not cause any bone damage or tissue loss, the more advanced stages of gum disease do. Periodontitis causes inflammation that is serious enough to form pockets between gums and teeth, which collect more bacteria and destroy the supportive bone and tissues of the teeth. The major consequence of gum disease within the mouth is tooth loss, but it doesn’t stop there.
Research shows that gum disease is linked to several other health risks, including diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Periodontal disease and diabetes is a two way street. Diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease, and gum disease often causes diabetic complications, such as increased blood sugar.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
Gum disease can also systemically affect your heart. It is believed that the inflammation of gum infections can worsen a pre-existing heart condition and even lead to a stroke.
Gum Disease and Cancer
Another alarming health risk of gum disease is cancer. Research correlates advanced gum disease with an increased risk for certain forms of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer and blood cancer.
The dangers of poor gum health are profound. Beyond the previously mentioned conditions is also the risk for premature birth. Regardless of your stage of life, keeping your gums is top shape is critical. Brushing and flossing daily are your best weapons at home. However, Salt Run Dental encourages our patients to visit us twice a year for regular checkups and professional cleanings. By seeing us on a routine basis, we can detect gum disease at its earliest stages and before it compromises your overall health.
Salt Run Family Dentistry
St. Augustine, FL 32080