Gum disease is detrimental not only to oral health but also to overall health and well-being. The dental condition is caused by bacterial growth in the mouth which, over time, eats away at the connective tissue of the teeth and bone. Severe cases of gum disease can lead to tooth loss as well as other potentially devastating effects on the body.
Here are five serious health concerns that have been linked to gum disease.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, a number of studies have found a link between gum disease and heart disease. The bacteria from the gums can enter the bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart. This can cause the arteries to harden and block blood flow through the body, increasing the risk of heart disease.
Additional studies have found a relationship between gum disease and stroke. One study found that people diagnosed with ischemic stroke were more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those not diagnosed with stroke.
The Journal of Periodontology has found evidence that gum disease could cause infections in the lungs, including pneumonia. Researchers believe this is because the bacteria from the infected gums travels to the airways and lungs. Although pneumonia is treatable, the condition still leads to over 50,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
Studies have found that the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy increase women’s risk of gum health issues (pregnancy gingivitis). Additionally, pregnant women with severe gum disease have an increased risk of premature birth, gestational diabetes (a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women) and preeclampsia (potentially dangerous pregnancy complication).
Gum disease has been identified as a risk of factor for certain cancers, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and oral cancer. Experts believe the chronic infection in the gums can lead to inflammation throughout the body, which can potentially promote the growth of cancer.
Gum Disease Treatment with Dr. Hampton
Although gum disease is common, many people are not even aware that they have the condition. Dr. Darian Hampton offers periodontal (gum) dentistry care to help North Dallas patients prevent or treat gum disease, whether or not they realize it is a problem. By regularly monitoring the health of the gums and teeth, Dr. Hampton can help patients prolong their oral and overall health.
To learn more about periodontal dentistry or to schedule a regular dental exam, contact us today.