Numerous studies have found definitive links between gum disease and heart problems, stroke, stomach problems, diabetes, and problems with pregnancy. For many years it’s been accepted that the bacteria in plaque that builds up between the teeth and gums can enter the bloodstream and, travelling throughout the body, can cause other serious health problems.
Furthermore, it is known that these bacteria can attach to the heart or heart valves, creating a serious condition known as bacterial endocarditis, which can kill you. Gum disease also has been linked to low birth weight babies, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
Gum Disease Inflammation
However, more recent research has shown another possibility for why periodontal disease (gum disease) is associated with several other diseases. For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the leading factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body; yet, more recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Whether caused by oral bacteria travelling through your blood stream or inflammation due to infection, we do absolutely know that there is a connection between poor oral health and:
- Heart disease
- Stomach problems
- Premature births or low-birth weight babies
- Respiratory disease
- Cancer – oral and other cancers
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Keeping an eye out for signs of gum problems will help you avoid other systemic issues that might develop. Here are symptoms of gum disease to watch out for.
- Swollen or red gums
- Gums that are tender or bleed easily
- Chronic bad breath
- Areas of gum that appear to be pulling back from the teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that are loose
The stage of gum disease will determine how it is treated. In all cases, however, the goal will be to bring any infection under control and prevent further damage. (WebMD.com)
- Scaling and root planning. For less severe cases of periodontitis, the dentist will remove infection-causing plaque with a method called scaling and root planing. It is essentially a deep cleaning method that removes bacteria from around the gum line and on the tooth root.
- Medications. Sometimes antibiotics or antimicrobial medications can reduce the size of gum pockets. These come in the form of mouth rinse, gel, pills, or tiny round particles that the dentist places directly in the pocket.
The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.