The Link Between Gum Disease and Overall Health

By Steven Kail on October 22, 2014

A mature woman embraces a man in a grey sweater from the back, both smilingBecause doctors and dentists occupy two different professions, many patients fail to understand just how closely their dental health is linked to their overall health. But in fact, problems with your dental health can have a profound effect on the rest of your body. In this blog post, Jackson dentist Dr. Steven Kail at Premier Dental Center will explain what effects periodontal disease can have and how restorative dentistry techniques can help improve your health as a whole.

Why Would Gum Disease Affect the Rest of My Body?

When we come down with a sinus infection, a stomach infection, or a skin infection, there is no question that this is not just an illness afflicting one isolated body part - such an infection would have an effect on your well being as a whole.

Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the gums and soft tissue surrounding and supporting your teeth. This infection occurs when a buildup of sticky plaque and tartar attracts bacteria. In addition to the decay and damage that this bacteria does to teeth over time, it also keeps your gums in an inflamed, irritated, and injured state. This taxes the body as it works to fight the infection. In addition, experts believe that the bacteria in the mouth can make it into the bloodstream, and eventually affect the health of the organs.

What Damage to My Body Can Gum Disease Cause?

The effect that periodontitis can have on the rest of your body is actually quite far-reaching. Gum disease has been consistently linked to a host of other diseases and issues including:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attacks
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Several types of cancers have also been strongly linked to gum disease. A study published in the June 2008 issue of The Lancet Oncology found that men with a long history of gum disease are 14 percent more likely to develop some forms of cancer than men with healthy gums. More specifically, men with periodontal disease are found to have a 49 percent higher chance of developing kidney cancer, a 54 percent higher chance of developing pancreatic cancer, and a 30 percent higher chance of developing cancers of the blood.  

What Can I Do to Prevent These Problems?

If your particular case of gum disease is mild, then staving off these health issues can be as easy as stepping up your daily dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, and adding in an antibacterial mouthwash as needed for extra protection against the creation and buildup of plaque and tartar.  

If your gum disease has progressed and is severe, you may need more aggressive treatment. Treatment options vary depending on the condition of your gums, and may include:

  • Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • Flap surgery
  • Gum tissue grafts

Your dentist will be able to assess your gums and plan the best course of action to bring your gums back to good health.

Learn More about the Connection Between Gum Disease and Your Overall Health Today

When you treat your gums right, the rest of your body will thank you for it. To get started, contact Dr. Steven Kail and his team at Premier Dental Center and schedule an appointment today.

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