Gum (periodontal) disease affects nearly half of American adults.
As if the results weren’t already daunting enough, gum disease can also affect you in other ways than just your oral health, as you’re about to discover.
Increase risk of heart disease and stroke
Although aging, smoking, diabetes, and genetics are all tied with risk of heart disease and stroke, gum disease is as well.
It’s said that the bacteria in the mouth can travel through the arteries to the heart, causing these heart-related problems.
Respiratory problems and damage to the lungs
Pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) were found to have a connection with gum disease.
Due to an increase of bacteria within the mouth, the immune system is fighting long and hard, in turn, struggling to upkeep immunity throughout the rest of the body.
Higher risk of diabetes
Those with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease, and those with gum disease have a higher chance of developing diabetes.
In fact, the risk of diabetes is much higher for gum disease patients and quite common.
Compared with those without gum disease or diabetes, kidney disease is also much higher when gum disease and diabetes are thrown into the mix.
Infertility and pregnancy-related issues
Women suffering with gum disease often take a few months longer to conceive than those without gum disease.
While it’s common for gum disease to arise in early pregnancy, this often goes away on its own throughout the pregnancy.
However, pregnant women with pre-existing gum disease are more likely to give birth to premature or low birth weight babies.
What can be done to reduce risk of gum disease?
1. Upkeep your dental routine.
Upkeeping your dental routine means brushing, flossing, and rinsing out with mouthwash thoroughly twice a day. Aggressive or lazy brushing just won’t cut it. Know that the simple upkeep of your oral health can prevent a lot of other oral-related issues as well such as cavities, halitosis, plaque and tartar, and ulcers.
2. Don’t skip out on your dental checkups.
You should be receiving biannual dental examinations to ensure your teeth are in top notch condition. Your dentist or hygienist will exam you for various oral-related problems that can be treated quickly if found and even offer you advice or answer your questions regarding the care of your teeth.
3. Receive an annual comprehensive periodontal evaluation (CPE).
From a periodontist, you can receive a comprehensive periodontal evaluation. During this examination, your gums and teeth, bone structure, bite, and other areas of the mouth will be inspected for signs of gum disease. This is an especially important evaluation for those at higher risk of gum disease (diabetic patients, smokers, pregnant or conceiving women, family history, older age, or previous gum or other oral-related problems).
4. Reduce or quit smoking.
Because smokers are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, it would be a good idea to limit or even quit smoking, that is, if you feel your risk of developing gum disease is too high. This would be especially great for those who are already at a higher risk of developing gum disease due to diabetes, family history, or other at-risk factors.