Understanding the Link Between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Disease
What is periodontal disease? In basic terms, periodontal disease is a condition where the tissue and bone which supports the teeth become infected. This results in swollen and bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, and can eventually lead to tooth loss. Oral health conditions like periodontal disease are also linked to various systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
How exactly does periodontal disease affect other parts of the body? The infection caused by periodontal disease spreads throughout the circulatory system, causing a systemic inflammatory response. This can make treatment of other systemic diseases more difficult.
Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy
Did you know that some studies suggest that oral health can affect the health of your unborn child? These studies show a connection between periodontal disease and prenatal complications such as preterm delivery and low birth-weight. While the results of these studies do not show cause and effect, they do demonstrate a strong association. It's important to have an evaluation by a Periodontist during pregnancy.
Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. With that in mind, it's important to do all you can to reduce your risk of heart disease. Maintaining good oral health is one easy step you can take. It's proven that periodontal disease increases your risk of heart disease, especially atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD).
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Diabetics are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease. Diabetics are more susceptible to infection, and therefore periodontal disease, and can have difficulty healing quickly. Conversely, periodontal disease has an impact on blood glucose levels, resulting in higher blood sugar. The link here is more like a full-circle effect. High blood sugar leads to slowed healing and increased chance of infection. Infection then leads to high blood sugar. If you're diabetic, it's very important to care for your teeth and gums to prevent these complications.
Periodontal Disease and Lung Health
Periodontal disease can cause respiratory complications for those with lung conditions and those who are hospitalized. These complications include conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Periodontal disease might also affect those with chronic breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
Periodontal Disease and Other Systemic Diseases
The link between your oral health and the health of various body systems is becoming more apparent. Other systemic diseases linked to periodontal disease include, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cognitive impairment, and cancer.
Many people are surprised to learn how your oral health can affect the rest of your body. Recent research shows a strong association between oral and systemic health. It is believed that periodontal disease can greatly contribute to the conditions listed above. Fortunately, periodontal disease is preventable in most cases. Practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing daily, and visiting your periodontist regularly will greatly reduce your risk of periodontal disease.