Gum Disease and Overall Health

Gum Disease Doesn’t Just Affect Your Gums

Illustrated diagram of a tooth affected by inflammation caused by gum disease.

Periodontitis, commonly known as gum disease, has long been known to cause red, swollen gums, bad breath, gum recession, loose teeth and bone loss—which can eventually lead to tooth loss. But we now know that what happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth. Recent studies show that the bacteria that causes inflammation in the gums can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Gum disease is linked a number of serious health issues.

Bacteria Causes Damaging Inflammation

Healthcare experts believe that when the bacteria that causes inflammation in the mouth moves through the body, it can increase inflammation in other tissues—a significant factor in heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and dementia.

  • The American Dental Association and the American Heart Association have acknowledged a link between gum disease and heart disease. People with gum disease are more likely to have a heart attack. Bacteria associated with gum disease have been found in blocked arteries of patients with cardiovascular disease, and may be contributing to the inflammation that causes heart attack and stroke.
  • Pain and chronic inflammation are commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis. According to a report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), RA patients are generally more likely to suffer from gum disease and experience tooth loss. After periodontal treatment, many RA patients have reported that they have less pain, swelling and stiffness.
  • A similar connection is noted in the treatment of diabetes. Diabetics are generally more prone to infection, and those with gum disease have more trouble regulating their blood sugar. Inflammation is suggested as a likely cause. Some periodontal patients have been able to reduce the medications they take for their diabetes once their gum disease is under control.
  • A recent study reported by the NIH showed that people with significant gum disease performed the worst in computation and memory assessments. Even mild cognitive impairment can make basic daily activities more difficult. Again, inflammation is the key. Worsening gum disease has been found in conjunction with Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Other health issues linked to gum disease include premature birth/low birth weight, some cancers, pneumonia and endocarditis. Smoking (and chewing) tobacco, some prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, crooked teeth and family history can all increase the risk of gum disease. Regular cleanings and timely periodontal treatment are highly recommended to help people avoid systemic health complications.

Dental Specialists Protecting Your Health

The doctors at Periodontal Associates are committed to their patients’ health and well-being. Providing friendly, expert treatment from their state-of-the-art Dallas office since 2001, Dr. Tanur and Dr. Ovadia are board-certified periodontists who help their patients battle gum disease every day. “Gum disease is a destructive, progressive disease,” says Dr. Tanur. “We teach our patients that good oral hygiene is their first line of defense to prevent a buildup of bacteria and plaque.”

Drs. Tanur and Ovadia offer appropriate treatment options, no matter what has caused the disease or how far it has progressed. They are highly trained and experienced in treating all levels of gum disease and can repair or improve the damage it causes through procedures such as deep cleaning, antibiotic therapy, minimally invasive laser-assisted periodontal treatment, gum and bone grafting, and replacing missing or broken-down teeth with long-lasting dental implants.

Schedule a consultation and learn how you can experience the exceptional care available at Periodontal Associates.

To make an appointment, call 214-377-0855 or request an appointment online.