When people talk about oral health, the first thing that comes to mind is often the teeth. However, maintaining oral health is more than just making sure that your pearly whites are in good condition. Just as important is making sure that your gums are in in excellent health, too.
As the barrier that protects the teeth’s roots from bacteria, the gum’s importance to oral health cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, while most people are diligent with brushing and flossing their teeth, they tend to neglect their gums. In fact, 2012 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 50% of all Americans over 30 years old have some form of periodontal or gum disease.
Cause for Concern
While an aching tooth is enough to make anyone book a dental appointment ASAP, gum infections often go unnoticed and unattended. Unfortunately, this is one case where what you don’t know can certainly hurt you. In fact, family dental clinics in Greenville, SC warn that periodontal disease can have serious effects on one’s health.
In a lot of ways, periodontal disease is a common effect of diabetes. This is because diabetics are more prone to develop infections, including that of the gums. On the flip side, severe gum infections elevate blood sugar levels in the body, making diabetics more prone to suffer from complications of their disease. In short, periodontal disease can make diabetes—an already difficult condition—even more complicated.
While the exact cause is yet to be determined, several studies have shown that periodontal disease can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Doctors believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease may play a role in this. Furthermore, gum infections can also worsen existing heart disease, as exemplified by infective endocarditis, a condition wherein the infection gets into the bloodstream and affects the heart.
If that weren’t enough, infected gums can also cause respiratory diseases. Research reveals that the bacteria that grows in the gums can be inhaled into the lungs, which can then cause infections. This can lead to serious conditions such as pneumonia in severe cases.
Indeed, there’s a lot at stake if you don’t take care of your gums. That’s why twice yearly dental checkups are a must to catch and treat gum diseases at the earliest time possible. If you haven’t seen a dentist recently, be sure to visit trusted family dentistry practices in Greenville, SC to avoid the grave effects that periodontal disease can cause.
Gum disease opens up the body to a host of infections, sciencenews.org
PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND SYSTEMIC HEALTH, perio.org
CDC: HALF OF AMERICAN ADULTS HAVE PERIODONTAL DISEASE, perio.org