Three Ways Periodontal Disease Hurts Your Whole Body
When people think about gum disease, they mostly think of their gums and teeth being hurt. While this is where the damage starts, it's not where it necessarily ends. Poor gum health can actually hold the potential to harm many other parts of your body as well. If your gums aren't as healthy as they could be, here are three things that could be at risk in your own body right now.
One of the first things that gum disease does beyond harming your teeth and gums is to cause bone loss. The bacteria and chronic inflammation can cause bone cells to die and be lost in the jaw. This is part of how people lose teeth, as the bone is necessary to support healthy teeth and keep them in place.
Although it's probably the last thing in your mind when you think of gum disease, the problem with your gums could potentially harm your heart and cardiovascular system.
Doctors and scientists have found a link between cardiovascular disease and gum disease. It seems that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can travel through your circulatory system, heading anywhere that your blood does. When it does this, the bacteria can inflict harm in other tissues, including your arteries and the heart itself. As such, people with significant and long-lasting gum disease may be at a higher risk of developing problems like heart attacks and strokes.
If a potential heart problem isn't horrifying enough, here's something just as bad, if not worse. Research now shows that there may be a link between mental degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's and poor gum health.
The first discovery is that the plaque found on the brains of Alzheimer's patients appears to be similar or identical to the plaque found on gums and teeth in those with gum disease. It's theorized that plaque can make it into the bloodstream and potentially end up causing problems through the body, including the brain, where these deposits may simply stick and remain, potentially leading to or increasing the risk of brain diseases.
In addition, the chronic inflammation of gum disease may increase the risk of developing a degenerative brain disorder.
In short, if you have gum disease and want to do what you can to protect your overall health, you must take better care of your gums. Start by visiting a specialist for periodontal disease treatment.