Poor oral health can have dire consequences. Not only can the health of your teeth and gums affect your ability to chew comfortably in the future, but it can also affect the health of other areas of your body. Dental decay can quickly lead to gum disease, which has been linked to multiple health conditions. Here are a few conditions that are impacted by the health of your gums.
Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetics with gum disease may find it harder to control their blood sugar. Gingivitis, which is the early form of gum disease, may only present as gums that are red, swollen, and bleed more easily. However, periodontitis, which is a more serious form of the disease, can cause deep gaps to form between the teeth and the gums. In fact, as your dentist diagnoses your gum disease and assesses its severity, he or she may insert a probe into the pockets of your gums to determine their depth. The deeper the pockets, the more severe the gum disease.
These pockets may also permit simple sugars to enter your bloodstream more easily, making it more difficult to maintain stable sugar levels. In addition, the pockets can allow the entry of oral bacteria directly into the bloodstream, inciting inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is associated with greater insulin resistance and diabetic complications.
Heart disease is also linked to periodontal disease. Once oral bacteria enter your bloodstream, they may cause inflammation within your blood vessels. In response to the inflammation on the walls of the arteries, plaques may form. These plaques can build up to eventually block the flow of blood inside the vessels and elevate the blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as strokes.
If you are pregnant, the health of your gums is particularly important. Severe gum disease is linked to low birth weight in newborns. In addition, it is associated with preterm births.
Since a premature baby can suffer multiple life-threatening complications, the child may have a more difficult time developing as quickly as babies who were born on time. In addition, premature babies are more likely to suffer from other health conditions, such as asthma.
To have the health of your gums assessed, schedule an appointment with a family dentist in your local area. If you are diagnosed with gum disease, the dentist can advise of ways to improve your gum health.