Periodontitis and Its Effects on the Body

18 Jun 2015

Periodontitis and Its Effects on the Body

Periodontitis, or advanced gum disease has been linked to other healthy condition, in fact, people with advanced gum disease are 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition, according to the American Dental Association.

It seems that oral bacteria that is allowed to build up unchecked can result in infection, as the immune system goes on the attack to fight the infection and inflaming the gums along the way. Gum inflammation doesn’t disappear until the infection is brought under control. Left unchecked, this inflammation and its byproducts eat away at the gums and bones holding the teeth in place.  Periodontitis, or gum inflammation, can also affect our bodies in other ways:

Halitosis: bacteria from tiny food particles stuck between the teeth release chemicals (hydrogen sulfide), which smell bad, causing halitosis, or persistent bad breath.

Heart disease: up to 91% of patients with heart disease are also afflicted with periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth can cause inflammatory conditions in the blood vessels, traveling through the bloodstream to the arteries in the heart and causing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) resulting in heart attack or stroke.

Obesity: periodontitis appears to increase in a person with higher body fat, in fact, a study recently found that overweight people had double the occurrence of periodontitis, while obese people had triple the incidence.

Diabetes: inflammation that begins in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to use insulin, and high blood pressure causes infections like gum disease, to grow.

Dementia: bacteria from gingivitis can travel to the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head and lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Respiratory problems: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia are both worsened by periodontitis, possibly due to the increase of bacteria in the lungs.

Low birth weight babies: both infection and inflammation can interfere with a fetus’ development during pregnancy and can raise the levels of chemicals called prostaglandins, which can trigger early labor.

Caring for your oral health benefits your overall health, not just your teeth and gums. Brushing, flossing, rinsing with a mouthwash to kill bacteria along with regular dental cleanings all help keep away periodontal disease and benefit your general health. Please feel free to call our office to schedule a visit with Dr. Vadim Vasserman for a checkup. Our team at Pelham Dental Group in the Bronx, New York, is just a phone call away at 877-410-6945!

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