Gum Disease and the Link to Overall Health

Aug 1, 2014 @ 09:12 AM — by James Stein

An older couple together smilingDr. James M. Stein understands that good dental health means more than just a great smile. Good dental health could also mean good health in general. This approach is why he's one of the leading dental health professionals in the Boston area. His commitment to restorative dentistry as a means of improving general health and wellness means that patients will have their overall well-being kept in mind throughout the treatment process.

With this in mind, we want to take this opportunity to consider the link between gum disease and general health issues. You may be surprised to learn how the two are linked.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is the bacterial infection of the gum tissue. The bacteria that causes this infection to occur is the same bacteria that causes tooth decay and bad breath. There are three stages of gum disease. In order from least severe to most severe:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a night, and to visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

Gum Disease Impacts Your Dental Wellness and General Health

Gum disease can lead to a number of dental health issues that can lead to general health problems. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to loose teeth, gum disease beneath the gumline, root canal infections, and tooth loss.

Diabetes Is Linked to Gum Disease

Diabetics are more prone to infection than people who do not suffer from diabetes. Given this, it should come as no surprise that people who are diabetic are more likely to suffer from gum disease.

Connections Between Heart Disease and Gum Disease

Whether linked to diabetes or not, a number of people who suffer from heart disease and hypertension are likely to also suffer from gum disease. Research is ongoing to determine what the exact link is between these issues.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease

Studies have suggested that the bacteria that is most commonly associated with gum disease has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. This bacteria can cause rheumatoid arthritis to occur sooner or progress more rapidly.

Respiratory Health Problems and Gum Disease

In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, some studies have suggested that the oral bacteria associated with gum disease may be linked to respiratory disorders of various kinds. Since smoking is a cause of respiratory problems and increases the chances of gum disease, this is another potential cause of the link.

Potential Premature Birth Linked to Gum Disease

Given that gum disease is often an indicator of poor health, a number of studies have found a link between premature birth and cases of gum disease. This demonstrates a fascinating tie between general wellness, dental health, and how the two can even potentially affect the health of an unborn child.

Gum Disease and Signs of Dementia

Let's be clear: gum disease itself doesn't cause dementia, but it may be a sign of a person suffering from dementia. With the early onset of this demetnia, people tend to neglect basic hygiene, which includes dental care.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care

For more information about periodontal health and how we can help you have a smile that's healthy and beautiful, be sure to contact our dental care center today. Dr. Stein and his team look forward to your visit and helping you with your dental health needs.

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