Over the last few decades, there have been several studies on the mouth-body connection. Research suggests a strong link between oral health problems like gum disease and other illnesses that affect our bodily health. Simply put, taking good care of your teeth and gums can benefit your mouth and your body as a whole!
At Drs. Kaugars, Miller & Beitz Implants and Periodontics of Richmond, we believe that patient education is the foundation for good oral health. In this case, it can also help you maintain better bodily health too! The following information details the relationship between periodontal (gum) disease and systemic illnesses.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
While the link between periodontal disease and bodily health isn’t always clear, the connection is strongest with diabetes. Research suggests that people with diabetes are much more likely to develop periodontal disease. Some studies have also shown the relationship goes both ways.
Periodontal disease is an infection caused by our immune system’s response to the harmful bacteria found in plaque. Unfortunately, the toxins our bodies create also produce an infection that can spread to the gum tissue, connective ligaments, and underlying bone. Without treatment, these tissues will begin to deteriorate.
People with diabetes have a harder time fighting off this infection due to a compromised immune system. Diabetes strains the immune system, which can lead to periodontal tissues that do not heal as well. Research also suggests that bacteria plaque can induce a greater inflammatory response, making it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.
Heart Disease and Periodontal Disease
If left untreated, a periodontal infection can also affect other parts of your body, such as the heart. While the evidence is not conclusive, studies suggest that periodontal disease can trigger inflammation throughout the body, especially in the circulatory system. Some researchers believe the same bacteria that causes periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream, resulting in inflammation and arterial plaque.
Periodontal disease can exacerbate existing heart conditions. People at a greater risk for infective endocarditis may need antibiotics before they undergo a dental procedure. Studies have also shown a relationship between oral infections and strokes. In other words, periodontal disease may increase the risk for strokes, especially in older men.
Gum Disease and Other Systemic Illnesses
Gum disease has been linked to a variety of systemic illnesses, some of which include:
Schedule Your Appointment Today!
Regardless of your oral and overall health, one thing is certain: early detection is key. Periodontal disease and related illnesses can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular appointments. Call (804) 285-4867 to schedule your appointment with us today!