Have you ever noticed that when one part of your body is sore or ill, the rest of your body is affected? For example, sore leg muscles can make your back hurt and nausea can make your head spin. The point is that the human body is made of inter-connected and not separate parts, and you mouth has integral role to play in this connection. Of course, what you eat affects your health, but did you know that just the condition of your mouth can impact your systemic health? Specifically, dentists and physicians now know about link between gum disease and overall health. To help you and your family stay healthy, Dr. LeBlanc, your dentist in Spring, TX, wants to explain how keeping your mouth healthy may be one of the keys to maintaining your general health.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
One of the most recognized links between oral and overall health is the connection between gum disease and heart disease. Left untreated, gum disease advances to its most severe form called periodontitis. The bacteria and oral inflammation—red and swollen gum tissue that bleeds easily upon contact—may actually contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers believe that when your gums bleed, the bacteria that cause periodontitis can enter the bloodstream and become attached to fatty deposits in the blood vessels of the heart. Alternatively, the body’s inflammatory proteins that react to gum disease may enter the bloodstream and ignite inflammation in blood vessels. Both of these possibilities can lead to blood clots, which contribute to heart disease.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Another disease commonly associated with gum disease is diabetes. Studies show that people with gum disease are not only more prone to developing gum disease, but they may also have more difficulty managing their gum disease. Conversely, having periodontitis can make controlling blood sugar levels more challenging. In addition to periodontitis, poorly controlled blood sugar levels may also contribute to the development of thrush (a fungal infection), dry mouth and even tooth loss.
Other health conditions that may be connected to periodontitis include:
- Certain types of cancer such as pancreatic, kidney and blood cancers
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premature birth
Call the Dentist in Spring, TX, Today
One of the best ways to maintain your oral and overall health is to schedule and keep your biannual checkups and cleanings with Dr. LeBlanc. At these appointments, we’ll examine your gums to make sure there are no signs of gum disease and we’ll remove the plaque that leads to the disease in the first place.