Is There a Connection Between Gum Disease & Your Overall Health?

Gum disease can affect your overall health. Click here to know what are the crucial health conditions that are affected by gum problems.

When bacteria and food debris remain on your teeth and develop dental plaque, a gummy substance sticks to your teeth. If you do not remove the plaque with daily brushing, flossing and teeth cleaning, it can hurt your gums and cause gum disease. If you don’t take good care of your gums, it may increase your risk of catching gum disease. Gum disease, if not treated, can increase your risk of tooth loss, impairing tooth function and overall appearance. Apart from damaging your teeth, there is rising evidence that gum disease is associated with several grave health conditions that can affect your overall health.

Respiratory Conditions

If you develop gum disease, you may have a higher risk of respiratory infections. Gum disease increases the extent of bacteria in your mouth. When this happens, the probability increases when the bacteria may move into your respiratory tract from your upper throat. If you’re suffering from a respiratory condition, like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or asthma, gum disease can worsen. That’s because gum disease increases airway inflammation. Inflammation in your respiratory system can induce respiratory problems, including damage to your lungs.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes at a higher level, it puts you at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Diabetes increases the sugar level in your saliva and makes it easier for harmful germs and plaque to grow. If diabetes is left unmanaged, higher blood sugar levels can cause gum disease to worsen quicker. The condition also deteriorates white blood cells, which generally would defend your mouth against infection. And when you control your blood sugar levels, it can help curtail your risk of unhealthy gums. Besides, gum disease can make it more problematic to uphold healthy blood sugar levels, which can cause diabetes if you already don’t have it. And it can make it harder to control diabetes once you have it.

Cardiovascular Disease

It is observed that people having gum disease have higher rates of cardiovascular disease. Gum disease can make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. When this does happen, it allows plaque formation in your arteries. When a plaque in a blood vessel solidifies, it increases your risk of blood clots. And blocking the blood flow to your heart can lead to a heart attack. And you can get a stroke when a blood clot blocks blood flow to your brain. Another theory suggests that cardiovascular disease and gum disease are connected because of inflammation, which is your immune system’s response to a gum infection. As your immune system battles the gum infection, it can also harm organs and tissue in your cardiovascular system, making them susceptible to disease.

Cancer

When you have gum disease, there is a higher probability of getting some types of cancer. A long-term study revealed that subjects with advanced gum disease had a 23% higher risk of developing cancer than those with healthy gums. Per a study, the highest risk is associated with lung cancer. Individuals having severe gum disease had more than double the risk of lung cancer than those with a milder form of gum disease or no gum disease. Furthermore, researchers observed that individuals with gum disease had a higher risk of catching colorectal cancer than people having healthy gums.

If you need help maintaining healthy gums to prevent gum disease or need dental teeth cleaning, call your dentist today and schedule an appointment for a dental consultation.