Link Between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health

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The initial symptoms of periodontal disease can be inconvenient and uncomfortable: red, swollen, sore gums; gums that bleed easily; and bad breath. However, several recent studies have demonstrated that gum disease may impact more than just our oral health. When the wellness of our mouth is compromised, more serious—and even life threatening—health conditions may arise.

The American Academy of Periodontology has shown that conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer all have probable links to gum disease. For example, inflamed and bleeding gums can allow harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and ultimately impede proper blood flow to the heart. Harmful bacteria festering at the gum line—the leading cause of gum disease—can also be aspirated into the lungs, causing respiratory problems. One study has even shown a correlation between males with gum disease and males with certain types of cancer (pancreatic, kidney, and blood cancer).

While these systemic health issues are not inextricably linked to gum disease, there does seem to be strong evidence of a connection between them. By maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling twice-yearly oral exams, you may significantly reduce your likelihood of developing gum disease—and also reduce your risk for these more serious overall health conditions.

For more information, or if you are interested in gum disease treatment, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Todd Mabry or Dr. Anna Vaysman.

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