The Mouth and Body Connection
Gum disease is a serious oral health issue that develops as a result of a bacterial infection in your mouth. When it goes untreated, you may be faced with some significant issues such as gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. It can also have other devastating effects. Gum disease is commonly believed only to affect your mouth. The truth, however, is that it can have a significant impact on your whole-body health as well. When gum disease develops, Bijan Family Dental Practice can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your oral health and protect the health of your body.
Gum Disease and Your Heart
When gum disease reaches advanced stages, the bacteria that travel below your gum line can enter into your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, the bacteria then travel throughout your body. The bacteria trigger an inflammatory response from your immune system, which causes your arteries to become narrower. Your blood flow is restricted, which can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure — your risk for heart attack and stroke increase. Bacteria that enter into the heart can also cause an infection in the lining.
When you have gum disease, you have a significant number of bacteria in your mouth. If you breathe through your mouth, the air you inhale can pick up some of these bacteria. When this happens, you can then draw the bacteria into your lungs. Your lungs are a warm, moist environment that is perfect for fostering bacterial growth. The bacteria you inhale can lead to serious respiratory issues, such as pneumonia. They can also worsen existing respiratory issues such as COPD and asthma.
If you have diabetes, your risk of gum disease is much greater, especially when your diabetes is not well controlled. With diabetes, the sugar levels in your saliva are higher, which provides a greater food source for oral bacteria. If you develop gum disease, it can impact how your body deals with the sugar in your blood, which can cause your blood sugar levels to become dangerously high, which can result in serious complications. Your blood sugar levels can become difficult to control. Even if you do not currently have diabetes, developing gum disease can increase your risk.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, gum disease affects more than your oral and overall health. Gum disease can also impact the health of your developing baby. Many women develop a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. This is because hormone changes during pregnancy change how your gums react to oral bacteria and plaque. Without gingivitis, gum disease can worsen. It can lead to serious issues such as preterm birth, or birth before 37 weeks. Babies can also be born at low birth weight. This can have significant consequences for your newborn, such as difficulty staying warm, low blood-oxygen levels, and increased risks for developing infections, breathing issues, and nervous system issues.
Taking care of your mouth is about more than just protecting your oral health. Good oral health is also essential for your whole-body health as well. For more information, call Bijan Family Dental Practice today at (714) 421-4494.