Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their gums. Generally speaking, when we are prompted to give this part of our mouth some thought, it’s the result of some unpleasant symptoms: pain, swelling, and bleeding, to name a few. These are all symptoms of a condition known as periodontal disease, although it is more commonly referred to as simply “gum disease”.
Studies have also revealed a positive link between periodontal disease and an increased risk for:
- Heart Disease
In order to understand the connection between your gums and these various health problems, we’ll have to start with the basics.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a condition that results from the accumulation of plaque below the gum line. The gums eventually become irritated by the toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque. These toxins trigger an inflammatory response from the gums, resulting in the breaking down of the tissues and even the bones that support your teeth.
Those with periodontal disease end up losing teeth as a result of decay and the loosening of the gums from the teeth. Your Idaho Falls dentist at Mudrow Family Dental has plenty of experience removing teeth and cleaning gums because of this chronic issue.
There are various forms of periodontal disease, including:
- Periodontitis: This form affects the gum tissue and spreads below the gum line, affecting the teeth and deteriorating the jawbone.
- Aggressive Periodontitis: This form progresses rapidly, affecting the gingival tissue and gingival ligaments that are responsible for holding your teeth in place. Bone destruction also occurs much faster.
- Necrotizing Periodontal Disease: This mainly occurs in those with immunosuppression or HIV, and is a form in which the various dental structures are deprived of the nourishment they need to remain healthy.
The Connection Between Periodontal Disease And Heart Disease
A connection between dental health and heart health has been posited for almost two decades now, and we are finally seeing some data that indicates a definite link.
That link is inflammation. During periodontal disease, the gums become inflamed and begin to swell. Inflammation is also what occurs in heart disease, leading to a hardening of the arteries – sometimes referred to as “atherosclerosis”. This hardening of the arteries makes it difficult for blood to flow to the heart.
The thing to remember about the gums is that they are full of blood vessels, and when bacteria makes its way below the gumline, the chances of that bacteria entering your bloodstream through these vessels becomes very high. Once in your bloodstream, that bacteria spreads throughout your body and triggers inflammation, which is one of the leading causes of damage to blood vessels.
Further studies have revealed that certain kinds of bacteria, including Streptococcus saguis, is commonly involved in both periodontal disease and heart disease, and can be transmitted from the gums to the heart quite easily. Those who do not suffer from periodontal disease show less of these bacteria in their hearts.
Brushing your teeth regularly, as well as scheduling dental cleanings from your Idaho Falls dentist, can significantly decrease your risk of heart disease.
The Connection Between Periodontal Disease And Stroke
As with its connection to heart disease, the main thing that links periodontal disease with stroke is inflammation. There is plenty of research to suggest a direct connection between the inflammation involved in strokes and that which is a feature of periodontal disease. A study has revealed that those who are afflicted by acute cerebrovascular ischemia were more likely to also have an oral infection.
Bacteria that plays a major role in periodontal disease also plays a major role in strokes. And as stated above, inflammation is an issue with both periodontal disease and heart disease, and those with heart disease are at a much greater risk for stroke.
The Connection Between Periodontal Disease And Diabetes
Those with periodontal disease are more likely to have diabetes, and this connection mainly comes down to an excessive amount of sugar intake. Those who do not control their diet and have higher than average blood sugar levels are at a greater risk for both periodontal disease and diabetes.
Bacteria thrives on sugar and the enzymes produced by it, particularly glucose, which is the sugar linked to diabetes. A lack of diabetes control leads to excess glucose levels in the mouth, which promotes the growth of germs and bacteria and can quickly lead to periodontal disease.
Your Idaho Falls Dentist At Mudrow Family Dental Can Detect Periodontal Disease Earlier And More Accurately Than Most Other Idaho Falls Dentists
At Mudrow Family Dental, we focus on bio-compatible dentistry, meaning we take into consideration not just the mouth and its dental structures, but how the health of these structures affects the health of the body as a whole. It is our goal not only to maintain the health of your mouth, but to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to maintain the overall health of your body. In fact, Dr. Kevin Mudrow will also communicate and work with any of your other healthcare practitioners so that you have the tools and resources you need to stay healthy.
The diagnostic services at Mudrow Family Dental that can detect periodontal disease early are safe and effective.
Don’t wait for periodontal disease to develop. Getting a proper diagnosis from your Idaho Falls dentist can help you prevent the spread of bacteria that results in not just periodontal disease, but other health problems as well.