Dr. Norman B. Fine provides periodontal treatment in Greenville and Anderson, South Carolina, to not only improve your oral health, but to protect the health of your entire body. Studies have shown that periodontal disease has been linked with other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
If you have periodontal disease, then your gum tissue will show signs of inflammation because of infection caused by oral bacteria. Gum disease affects the entire body because this infection and bacteria can spread through it, creating health complications. When you prevent periodontal disease through an oral hygiene routine, or if you reverse its progress by visiting Fine Periodontics, then you are preventing serious problems from developing in your mouth and entire body.
Periodontal Disease & Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where one has too much glucose, or sugar, in their blood, and it affects over 12 million Americans. Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin, which helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, while type 2 diabetics cannot regulate their insulin levels. Diabetes can lead to the development of other health problems in the body.
Studies show that those with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Diabetics who have difficulty maintaining healthy blood sugar levels are also more likely to suffer from the more severe effects of periodontal disease than diabetics who maintain their glucose and insulin levels. The reason diabetes and periodontal disease share a link is because diabetics are more susceptible to infection due to slow circulation, which allows bacteria to colonize.
Diabetes not only makes you more susceptible to gum disease, but gum disease makes diabetics more susceptible to experiencing diabetic complications. Moderate and severe cases of gum disease increase sugar levels, making it more difficult for diabetics to control them. This problem promotes high-glucose levels in your saliva, which feed the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.
Another complication that develops because of these diseases is the thickening of blood vessels. Your blood vessels are important in maintaining good health because they remove waste products from the body. When they are thickened due to diabetes, they cannot complete this action. The waste products that remain in the oral blood vessels weaken gum tissue resistance, making it more susceptible to periodontal disease.
Diabetics who smoke tobacco can cause even more harm to their overall and oral health. If a diabetic over the age of 45 smokes, then they are 20 times more likely to suffer from gum disease and the problems associated with it.
Routine brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist become even more important if one is diabetic because these actions help to prevent gum disease. If the teeth are not regularly cleaned, then bacteria can collect under the gum line where it will process sugars and cause gum disease.
Periodontal Disease & Heart Disease
There are fatty proteins called plaque that collect on the walls of your heart’s arteries. Coronary heart disease occurs if too much of this buildup causes your arteries to narrow. The restricted blood and oxygen flow that results can cause problems like chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attack.
There are numerous connections between gum disease and heart disease. For one, those with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease. Gum disease can also aggravate other existing heart conditions. Those with periodontal disease are even more likely to experience stroke, which occurs when the brain’s blood flow is stopped, often due to a clot.
One of the reasons periodontal disease increases the risk for these conditions is because the excess oral bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream. These bacteria can attach to the fatty plaques in the heart’s coronary arteries, which increases the risk for clot formation and other problems.
Another connection between these conditions occurs when periodontal inflammation causes more white blood cells and C-reactive proteins (CRP) to produce, especially when periodontal bacteria affect the liver. CRP has been associated with heart disease because they increase inflammation in the body. This inflammation can narrow the arteries, resulting in blood clots that cause heart attack and stroke.
Because coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in America, we encourage you to maintain a rigorous oral hygiene routine. Doing so can help to prevent periodontal disease and other complications.
Periodontal Disease & Pregnancy
Women who become pregnant experience several hormone changes which increase the risk of developing gum disease. The excess bacteria in your body that results from this disease can harm your unborn child and cause complications like preeclampsia, low birth weight, and premature birth. However, if a pregnant woman gets periodontal disease treated as soon as possible, then she can reduce the risk for these problems by 50%.
One of the reasons these complications develop is due to the levels of the prostaglandin compound found in periodontal bacteria, especially in those who suffer from periodontitis. Prostaglandin has labor-inducing properties, which can result in premature birth and low birth weight.
Periodontal disease also increases the levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP) which increase inflammation in the body as well as the risk for heart attack, stroke, and in the case of pregnant women, preeclampsia. Though we do not know why CRP increases the risk for preeclampsia, studies have shown that there is definitely a connection.
Another reason gum disease increases the risk for pregnancy complications is because of the oral bacteria that spread through the blood stream. Studies have found that these bacteria tend to collect not only in the coronary arteries of the heart, but in the internal mammary glands as well. Pregnant women should definitely maintain excellent oral hygiene and visit a dentist for care in order to protect their health and the health of their baby.
Periodontal Disease & Respiratory Disease
People develop respiratory conditions when they inhale small water droplets from the mouth that contain germs. Those with periodontal disease have higher levels of bacteria in their mouth, which means that more of it is likely to be inhaled into the lower respiratory track and lungs. These bacteria can exacerbate conditions in the lungs or cause respiratory infections that impair breathing.
Periodontal disease increases the risk for several respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. It has even been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Though this condition is usually caused by smoking, research has shown that periodontal disease can worsen it.
Studies have found that those with a low immunity are more likely to develop respiratory problems as a result of gum disease. This means that the body cannot easily fight off the bacteria that grow around the gum tissues and infect the lungs.
Inflammation is another way periodontal disease increases the risk for respiratory infections. When oral bacteria spread in the lungs, it can irritate the lung lining. This causes it to inflame, limiting the amount of air that passes through the lungs.
If you have either periodontal disease or respiratory infections, our team can help you improve your gum health while also instructing you on steps you can take at home.
Periodontal Disease & Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a loss of bone density, a condition that usually develops in older women. This bone thinning problem occurs when the body either absorbs too much of its old bone tissue, or it does not produce enough new bone tissue. This results when estrogen levels drop in women going through menopause or when testosterone levels drops in men. Those who have osteoporosis must be careful everyday because they have an increased risk for developing bone fractures.
Periodontal disease can also cause bone loss, specifically with jaw bone deterioration. Studies have shown that those who have osteoporosis can lower their risk for tooth loss if they control gum disease. Additionally, post-menopausal women who have osteoporosis are 86% more likely to suffer from gum disease.
One way gum disease and osteoporosis are linked is because of estrogen deficiency, which speeds up the process of bone loss. This deficiency can also deteriorate the fibers and tissues that keep your teeth in place.
Periodontal disease increases the risk for osteoporosis by creating low mineral bone density. This occurs because the inflammation of gum disease weakens bone tissues and makes them more likely to break, especially if one develops periodontitis.
If you have osteoporosis, then make sure you take good care of your teeth and gums in order to protect them and the bones in your body.