Having a healthy mouth doesn’t just impact your teeth and gums, but your body as well. Periodontitis, or advanced gum disease has been linked to other health conditions, in fact, individuals with advanced gum disease are 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition, according to the American Dental Association. Oral bacteria that is allowed to build up unchecked can result in infection, where the immune system kicks in to fight the infection and inflaming the gums along the way. Left unchecked, this inflammation and its byproducts eat away at the gums and bones holding the teeth in place.
Along with periodontitis, gum inflammation can also affect our bodies in other ways, potentially including the following.
Bacteria from gingivitis can travel to the brain through the bloodstream or nerve channels in the head and lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Inflammation that begins in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to use insulin, and high blood pressure causes infections like gum disease, to grow.
Oral bacteria from bits of food particles stuck between the teeth release chemicals, such as hydrogen sulfide (which smells like sulfur) so you end up with halitosis, or chronic bad breath.
Up to 91% of patients with heart disease are also afflicted with periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth can cause inflammatory conditions in the blood vessels, traveling through the bloodstream to the heart arteries and causing atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries) causing heart attack or stroke.
Low Birth Weight Babies
Both infection and inflammation can interfere with a fetus’ development during pregnancy and can raise the levels of chemicals called prostaglandins, which can bring on premature labor.
Periodontitis appears to increase in a person with higher body fat, in fact, a study recently found that overweight people had double the occurrence of periodontitis, while obese people had triple the incidence.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia are both made worse by periodontitis, possibly due to the increase of bacteria in the lungs.
As you can see, a healthy mouth makes for a healthier body. Brushing, flossing, rinsing with a mouthwash to kill bacteria along with regular dental cleanings all help keep away periodontal disease and in turn, keep you healthier.
We invite you to call our office to schedule a visit with Dr. Peter T. Mathison for a checkup if you have any concerns. Dr. Mathison’s Center for Dentistry team in Fargo, North Dakota is just a phone call away at (701) 478-4500!