The human body is an extremely complex thing. There are connections within the body from head to toe. Our overall well-being can be affected by the food that we choose to consume, our outcome in life, or even the cause of our death. But there is an extra strong connection between your oral health and the rest of your body. Not taking care of your dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to making the body suffer in more ways than just inside the mouth.
What are the stages of gum disease?
- Gingivitis – this early stage and will present itself by red, inflamed, tender gums, which may bleed easily. With a good daily regimen of brushing and flossing this stage can usually be turned around, but it must be caught early
- Periodontitis – this is a much more serious stage and can cause damage to the gums and to the structure that supports the teeth. It will present itself as pockets that will form when the gums pull away from the teeth. When this happens the structures that support the tooth start to break down, the tooth will become loose, and without treatment, they will fall out or have to be extracted professionally
Who is at risk for developing gum disease?
Anyone can develop gum disease, especially those who do not take proper care of their oral health. According the U.S. Department of Health Services approximately 1 in 7 adults ages 35 to 44 have some form of gum disease, and by age 65, the number goes up to 1 in 4. They have also reported that the number of people who have gum disease is higher in men and lower in women.
Here is how it how it is connected to other parts of the body:
When harmful bacteria build up in the mouth (plaque, gingivitis) it causes issues, such as gum disease. If that bacteria are left unchecked, it has the potential to move to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Chronic inflammation caused by gum disease bacteria has the ability to increase atherosclerotic plaque buildup, which can have an impact of conditions, such as:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Pregnancy Complications
- Respiratory Disease
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Neurological Conditions
- Forms of Cancer
When high levels of plaque are present around the teeth it causes infection, this infection is what moves to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, allowing that infection to become an issue and cause disease or affect current conditions within the body.
The only way to keep gum disease from becoming a problem for both your oral and overall health is to have a strict-daily routine of brushing and flossing. However, brushing and flossing alone (no matter how often you do it) can only do so much, regular dental visits are extremely important to your health. We recommend you come in and see us at least every six months. Contact our office for more information on gum disease, the connection it has to the body, and how you can avoid it.