Can gum disease make you sick?

Maintaining great oral health is crucial not only for a beautiful smile but also for your overall well-being! At the Periodontal Health Center, we say, “a healthy mouth is a healthy body.” 

It’s our mission to educate the community on oral health, gum health, gum disease and how this disease can affect our overall health. 

Let’s dive into gum disease, types of gum disease, and how it relates to various health conditions. 

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory disease that derives from infection in the gums. There are various types of gum disease or stages of gum disease, including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. 

According to the CDC, “nearly half (46%) of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease,” and an estimated 9% of adults have a more advanced form of gum disease. 

Gum disease is serious; as it advances, gum disease causes tooth loss and bone loss in the jaw, and is associated with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and certain types of cancer.

Understanding the Link between Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Studies suggest that the bacteria present in gum infections can enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Although more research is needed, maintaining good oral hygiene and getting professional cleanings can potentially reduce the risk of both gum disease and heart complications!

The Relationship between Diabetes and Gum Disease

People with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, due to their compromised immune system and difficulty in controlling blood sugar levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, “having less than optimal diabetes glucose levels over time triples your risk for developing gum disease (also called periodontal disease).”

Untreated gum disease can also make it more challenging to manage diabetes. The two conditions create a vicious cycle, with gum disease negatively impacting blood sugar control, potentially leading to complications. 

By practicing good oral hygiene and visiting our experienced periodontists in New Port Richey or Tampa, we can help prevent the progression of gum disease! It’s important to visit your primary care provider regularly to better manage diabetes as well. 

Systemic Disease and Periodontitis

Research has suggested potential links between periodontitis and systemic diseases, such as respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and even certain types of cancer. While more studies are required to establish causal relationships, it is evident that maintaining optimal oral health is vital in overall disease prevention.

How to detect gum disease

Gum disease manifests in stages. Gingivitis, the earliest stage, is characterized by inflamed, tender gums that may bleed during brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, where the infection spreads beneath the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth, leading to bone and tooth loss.

If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, it’s important that you schedule a consultation with us!

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding regularly when brushing teeth
  • Pus between/around teeth and gums
  • Pinkish toothbrush after brushing
  • Loose or wiggling teeth
  • Exposed tooth roots
  • Considerable jaw pain
  • Teeth are suddenly uneven when jaw is closed

How to prevent gum disease

Preventing gum disease starts with maintaining excellent oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash are essential components of a healthy oral care routine!

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings allow your dentist to clean plaque and tartar from your teeth to help reduce the risk of gum disease. Your dentist will also check your gum health at your regular visits.

Adopt a balanced diet, avoid tobacco use, find healthy ways to manage stress, and visit our periodontists at the first sign of gum disease! 

We create personalized treatment plans for our patients, because no two mouths are the same! If you have early gum disease developing, our periodontists may suggest a scaling and root planing treatment to help decrease inflammation and stop the progression of gum disease. However, once you visit our periodontists for an examination, we’ll determine the most effective route to help restore your gum health. 

So, can gum disease make you sick?

Research shows that having gum disease can make you more susceptible to diseases. Your mouth is a direct gateway to the rest of your body! A healthy mouth is not just a smile enhancer; it plays a vital role in your overall well-being.

By understanding the connections between gum disease and systemic illnesses, you can take proactive steps to prevent gum disease and safeguard your well-being. We’re here to support you along the way!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Ready to schedule an appointment? Request an appointment with us in Tampa or New Port Richey today!

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