Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can gum disease threaten my health?

Yes. Infections in the mouth can reek havoc elsewhere in the body.  Since 1998, evidence has mounted to support the link between a person' s gum health and their overall general health. We do know that periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection, and all infections are cause for concern.  While more research needs to be done, research is suggesting that periodontal disease may:

  • Contribute to the development of heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death.
  • Increase the risk of stroke.
  • Pose a serious threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes, respiratory diseases, or osteoporosis.
  • Increase a woman's risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.

How does this happen?  Researchers have found that when food is being chewed, diseased gums release significantly high levels of harmful bacterial components, such as endotoxins, into the bloodstream.  Once in the bloodstream, these harmful bacterial components can travel to other organs in the body, such as the heart, liver, and lungs, where they can cause harm.

The good news is that most gum diseases can be prevented or controlled.  If your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle, this is all the more reason to keep your dental health a priority!