Gum Disease Mouth-Body Connection

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Gum Disease Has Far-Reaching Effects

In addition to the impact that gum disease can have on your oral health, it can also affect your overall health. The effects of gum disease on your health can include an increased risk of serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Strauss can help you experience the vast benefits of excellent oral healthcare.

How Does Gum Disease Impact Other Areas of the Body?

Left untreated, gum disease can escalate to periodontal disease, which is a serious bacterial infection. At this stage, bacteria in your gum tissue can enter the bloodstream and begin to affect other areas of the body:

  • Respiratory System
    Studies have shown that advanced gum disease can increase your risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Immune System
    Continuous inflammation in the gums can place constant stress on the immune system, compromising its ability to fight infections that occur elsewhere in the body.
  • Circulatory System
    Advanced gum disease can make you two to three times as likely to experience a stroke or heart attack.

Periodontal disease is also associated with a higher risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Blood cancer

Many of these conditions can also make you more susceptible to developing gum disease. In short, your oral health and overall health are dependent upon one another, and it pays to undergo regular exams with your periodontist, general healthcare provider, and any other specialists as recommended.

Medications Can Also Increase Your Risk of Gum Disease

When undergoing treatment for other conditions, certain medications can increase your risk of periodontal disease. These include medications used in:

Chemotherapy: This form of cancer treatment can harm healthy cells in addition to cancerous cells. It is recommended that you speak with your dentist at least a month before starting chemotherapy in order to discuss ways to maintain your oral health throughout treatment.

Treating blood pressure: Certain blood pressure medications can cause an overgrowth of gum tissue. This makes it more difficult to maintain your oral hygiene, which in turn can increase your risk of developing gum disease.

Organ transplants: Immunosuppressant drugs prescribed following an organ transplant can make you more susceptible to developing gum disease.

Treating epilepsy: The anticonvulsant drug phenytoin has been shown to cause an overgrowth of gum tissue, resulting in the same issues related to taking high blood pressure medication.

It is important to disclose your full medical history and a list of drugs you are taking to your dentist. That way, he or she can properly monitor you for gum disease by scheduling exams as often as you need.

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