Gum Disease Influencing Other Medical Conditions

Your attention to your daily oral hygiene can go a long way to preventing not only tooth decay, but gum disease as well. Both are vital to a healthy smile. But what happens if you do develop gum disease? What does this mean for your overall health?

Advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis is an infection and inflammation of the gum tissue caused by the excess buildup of bacteria and tartar. Twice daily brushing and flossing can do a lot to remove plaque. However, only your dentist can remove tartar build up. When it is left unchecked tartar near the gum line can cause the gum tissue to pull back from the teeth. This creates pockets in the gums for bacteria to infect. This infection in the gums can also lead to systemic inflammation which taxes your immune system and may have a negative impact on other medical conditions.

Diabetics and people with uncontrolled blood sugar often have a hard time-fighting infection. This can allow bacteria to spread through the affected area in the gums. Your periodontist might suggest using antibiotics to resolve the infection. If the infection advances too far it might require gum surgery to remove infected gum tissue and restore your gums.

The relationship between gum disease, heart disease, and stroke is not as well understood. However, there is some evidence which suggests a connection. Studies performed by the American Heart Association have found that people with heart disease had a higher instance of gum disease. This could also be related to lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and its impact on overall health.

Research conducted by the American Cancer Society found that middle-aged men with gum disease were more likely to develop cancer issues in the kidneys and pancreas. They also found an increase in certain types of blood cancers.

If you have not been to your dentist in a while, and show any signs of gum disease, we invite you to give us a call. Dr. Chau will be happy to check your gums and clear any tartar buildup and help you get back on your way to excellent oral health!

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