Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health

Gum disease, or periodontal disease is extremely common. But that’s no reason to think it’s OK. The scary truth is that it could shorten your lifespan by making you susceptible to a host of conditions. The link between our oral health and our overall health is becoming clearer as study after study shows that gum disease affects our overall health.

If you’ve been reading up on health-related topics, you’ll know that inflammation is a big enemy. And inflammation can spread. If the inflammation is in your mouth, it’s logical to assume that it can easily spread throughout your system. Researchers have found that this is exactly what happens.

75 Percent of People in the US Have Periodontal Disease

Western lifestyles and diet seem to make periodontal disease very common indeed. And although people will occasionally mention gum problems to dentists, it can be quite subtle. Often, it’s the dentist who tells patients about their gingivitis rather than the other way around.

For those who don’t go for frequent check-ups and professional teeth cleanings, the trigger that gets them heading for the Richmond dentist could be advanced gum disease symptoms. After all, when teeth become loose or gums become very painful, it’s hard to overlook the need to get help.

Aside from the need for more advanced dental surgery when periodontal disease has gone unchecked, systemic health also suffers.

What Illnesses are Linked to Periodontal Disease?

Just as an argument between two friends has two protagonists, so gum disease and other inflammatory diseases have a two-way relationship. Each one affects the other. For example, type 2 diabetes sufferers exhibit worse diabetes symptoms and worse gum disease when the condition is poorly managed.

Cardiovascular disease and the risk of heart attacks or strokes, on the other hand, could even be triggered by gum disease. Osteoporosis, premature birth, and critically low birth weight of babies are also associated with gum disease. Clearly, getting treatment for early-stage gum disease is important to our overall health.

That’s worth investing a little time. Remember, the sooner we treat periodontal disease, the less likely it is to become a serious health-risk.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

Anybody can get gum disease, but certain factors make one more likely to get it. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Certain medications
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Crooked teeth
  • Loose fillings
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain illnesses (including HIV and Diabetes)

Ultimately, gum disease is directly caused by bacteria in the mouth, so poor oral hygiene habits would be a particularly significant risk factor.

Visiting Your Dentist Isn’t Just Good for Your Teeth

Many people don’t realize that their dental treatments can contribute to longer life and good overall health. Don’t wait until you have an excruciating toothache before visiting your dentist. As dentists, we take care of so much more than just your teeth and gums. And when we can give you an “all-clear” after your check-up, we’re as happy as you are. Has it been a while since you last had a dental check-up? There’s no time like the present. Make your appointment today.

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