The Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Your Overall Health

Dr. Goldberg recommends regular brushing and flossing to his patients from Boynton Beach, Florida to help maintain good oral hygiene. Most people assume this advice is to prevent tooth decay and cavities. While this is important, your oral health including that of your gums, has strong connections to your overall health and wellbeing. Patients who suffer with periodontal disease, also called gum disease, are actually at higher risk of other serious health concerns.

What medical conditions are linked to gum disease?

Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and issues with pregnancy have been linked to gum disease. For many years, experts thought that the bacteria that causes plaque and tartar buildup, eventually leading to gum disease, was the link to other diseases. However, recent studies have indicated that the inflammation of the gums and soft tissue caused by periodontitis is critical to these diseases.

The link with some of the other conditions is reciprocal. Those with periodontal disease may be more likely to develop diabetes because the gum disease makes it difficult to control sugar levels. Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease because of being more susceptible to disease on a whole. Gum disease is actually considered a common complication of diabetes. Periodontal disease can also lead to issues and disease in the lungs. The bacteria that multiply and cause the problems on the teeth and gums can enter the lungs through normal breath and has been linked to diseases like pneumonia. Research also exists showing that gum disease can affect the jaw bone, resulting in osteoporosis. The teeth and jaw bone support each other, and a weakened jaw will not effectively hold teeth. There is also research available that links gum disease with cancer and those with periodontitis are 49 percent more like to develop kidney cancer, 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancer, and 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

How can I protect myself?

Fortunately, with regular dental care and good hygiene habits, periodontal disease is easy to prevent with regular visits to your Boynton Beach dentist. Periodontal disease may be prevented by visiting Dr. Goldberg every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. This will allow the removal of any plaque that’s built up and also to look for and treat early gum disease. You can also decrease your chances for developing gum disease by brushing and flossing on a regular basis using the right techniques to remove plaque. Avoiding sticky, sugary snacks is also important since sugar helps to promote the growth of gum disease-causing bacteria. If you experience any symptoms associated with gum disease, you should seek dental attention as soon as possible.

Common symptoms include:

  • Swollen and red gums
  • Bad breath
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth