Known Mouth and Body Connections

Gums don’t lie. Red, Swollen or bleeding gum tissue is an early warning sign we cannot ignore. More and more medical research is coming to the conclusions that there is a definite link between our oral health and health concerns throughout our bodies. These studies show that bacteria from gum diseases can travel though out the body causing havoc with our general health.

Known mouth/body connections include:

  • Periodontitis—This serious gum infection can allow oral bacteria to enter your blood stream and cause other health problems. Periodontal disease is characterized by swollen and bleeding gums, increased pocketing and in severe cases loss of bone that supports the teeth. Teeth can be lost to gum disease but even more devastating are some of the other conditions that can be made significantly worse with active gum infections.
  • COPD– Scientists are studying the effect of poor oral hygiene on lungs damaged with COPD. Bacteria inhaled through the mouth can cause lung complications that a person with COPD cannot fight off. Including  pneumonia and other complications.
  • Heart Disease—Oral bacteria from gum infections may attach to fatty plaques in the arteries surrounding the heart, helping to form clots that could lead to a heart attack. Other researchers also believe that chronic inflammation associated with periodontal disease contributes to increased risks of coronary artery disease. Some patients are required to take antibiotics prior to some dental procedures because of increased risks of oral bacteria in the bloodstream.
  • Stroke—Oral bacteria may attach to fatty plaques in the arteries of the brain helping to form clots, which can block blood flow causing a stroke.
  • Diabetes—Diabetics develop gum disease (periodontitis) more easily because diabetes slows the body’s natural healing process. In addition, blood-sugar levels may be adversely affected by advanced gum disease, causing complications for diabetics. Research shows that type2 diabetics who are poorly controlled are significantly more at risk for gum disease.

 

  • Osteoporosis- Researchers have suggested a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Here we find that untreated osteoporosis can cause accelerated tooth loss from gum disease.
  • PreTerm or Low birthweight infants – Pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be 7 times more likely to have a preterm or low birthweight baby. Today many OB/GYN’s recommend that their patients maintain good oral hygiene and have regular dental cleanings.

 

 

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Recent studies show that RA patients are eight times more likely to develop gum disease.