Gum Disease and Your Health
Link between Gum Disease and Your Overall Health
Gum and bone infection can initiate a series of inflammatory and immunologic changes leading to the destruction of connective tissue and bone. Periodontal (gum) disease was always considered a localized infection but, now research shows that it can greatly impact you overall health in many ways.
Researchers have found a relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and pre-term low birth weight babies. The bacteria present within the mouth can spread into the blood stream and pose a threat to other parts of the body.
People with periodontal disease are at a higher risk to suffer from coronary artery disease than those with healthy gums. Coronary artery disease is caused by thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to fatty proteins. Blood clots can form and restrict the amount of nutrients and oxygen needed for the heart to function properly, thus leading to a heart attack.
Diabetic patients are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. Periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. If diabetes is uncontrolled then you are at even higher risk.
Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small. Periodontal disease causes increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Women whose periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby. Any infection the mother carriers can pose risk to the health of the baby.
A critical role in half of the cases with periodontal disease are caused by genetic factors. Up to 30% of the population may have some genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease often occurs in members of the same family. Studies have found that children of parents with periodontal disease are 12 times more likely to have the bacteria thought to be responsible for causing plaque and, eventually, periodontal disease.