Many people may not understand that periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive condition. The disease becomes more severe the longer left untreated. Not only does this evoke further dental health concerns, but it also plays a role in affecting the rest of your body. Researchers have discovered that your oral health status could play a major role in maintaining a healthy body or regulating existing conditions. Dr. Stewart and our team provide dental care that assists you with keeping your oral health at optimum status, which may help with your systemic health.
Gingivitis to Periodontitis
Gingivitis remains the mildest form of periodontal disease. It appears as red, inflamed, or bleeding gums. At this stage in the disease, symptoms may be visible, but they usually don’t cause any discomfort, or pain.
However, advancing beyond gingivitis into periodontitis, symptoms become more apparent. Plaque can spread below the gumline, causing irritation of the root and cementum of the teeth. Toxins from the spreading bacteria causes inflammation, which is the body’s response to the infection. Progressing farther, soft tissues deteriorate and disconnect from teeth, forming pockets that may become infected. Eventually, if left untreated, the infection can reach the bone, deteriorating it, causing tooth loss.
How Gum Disease Affects Systemic Health
The bacteria that cause gum disease may enter the blood stream, if not treated promptly, and travel freely throughout the rest of your body. Some of the following systemic health conditions may be linked to gum disease:
Diabetes: Patient’s with diabetes posses a higher chance of developing gum disease compared to those without. The increased presence of sugar in a diabetic patient’s saliva enables the growth and spread of bacteria in the mouth. Researchers believe that the connection between diabetes and gum disease works both ways, however. Those with gum disease may have a difficult time managing blood sugar levels.
Cardiovascular Disease: Gum disease consists of causing inflammation, which is a similar symptom of heart disease. Researchers believe that since the bacteria in oral infections cause inflammation, and when allowed to travel throughout body, there is a connection between the two.
Cancer: According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.
About Dr. Stewart
James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC is an experienced and respected dentist serving patients from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, and Garden City. Patients can contact Dr. Stewart by calling (734) 425-4400 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.