Can Gum Disease Cause Other Health Issues?
There’s no question that gum disease can produce some unfavorable results as far as a patient’s mouth is concerned. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is primarily caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar buildup in the mouth. Most people are aware of the fact that when left untreated, gum disease can lead to a variety of oral health issues, including tooth and bone loss. However, did you know that gum disease has also been linked to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease?
Dr. Stuart Levy is a Medford, New Jersey dentist who takes gum disease rather seriously. According to Dr. Levy, gum disease is bacterially-induced, and while the gums respond to unhealthy bacteria in a certain fashion, so too does the rest of the body. Researchers are now finding that the same mouth bacteria that cause gum disease have been isolated in blood clots and cardiovascular vessels; in other words, that nasty mouth bacteria can get into your bloodstream and cause blood clots and other serious cardiovascular problems. In addition to heart-related issues, gum disease may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to adequately control their blood sugar levels. Finally, the same bacteria that cause gum disease are now being linked to the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. On the flip side to all of this, preventing and controlling gum disease can help decrease a person’s chances of developing cardiovascular problems and can help manage health issues such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course, the reward of proper oral health should be enough of a motivator to convince you to properly take care of your gums. But now that you’re aware of all of these other health repercussions relating to gum disease, you should be especially inspired to do whatever it takes to keep gum disease far away from your mouth. So what can you do to prevent gum disease? The steps involved are actually fairly simple provided that you take a consistent approach. For starters, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Be sure to brush your gums as well. The more meticulously you brush, the more likely you are to remove plaque before it ends up causing gum disease. Flossing is also an important step in preventing gum disease. Since flossing is the only way to remove plaque from the “in-between” tooth areas that a toothbrush can’t reach, it’s important that you incorporate it into your daily dental routine. Mouth rinses are also effective in controlling plaque, so swish on occasion to protect yourself from the type of buildup that could result in gum disease.
Finally – and this is really important – make sure to visit your dentist twice a year, or as recommended, in order to ensure that your gums stay healthy. One thing that your dentist or hygienist will do during a standard dental appointment is study the gums and note any signs of inflammation. Your dentist or hygienist might also use a probe to test your gums for “pockets” that could be an early indicator of bone loss. Going to the dentist regularly will allow you to stay on top of your gum condition; it will also give your dentist the opportunity to recommend early treatment in order to mitigate the problem before it causes more damage.
Gum disease can be scary enough in and of itself, but given its link to a host of bodily health issues, you should now be convinced, more so than ever, that ignoring your gums is a foolish notion that could get you into a world of trouble. Remember, gum disease can be prevented, but doing so takes a commitment on your part to properly care for your gums and teeth. Considering how much of your health is riding on the state of your gums, your best bet for an overall healthy future is to make proper oral hygiene a true priority.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.