Is Your Dental Inflammation a Serious Risk to Your Health?

Oral health issues can have an effect on your overall well-being

The next time you see that you have bleeding gums, you may not want to ignore it any longer. Although it may not seem like much at the time, taking care of it could mean you might live longer. The fact that they are bleeding indicates that you have a gum infection. This inflammation could easily lead to a lot of major health problems later.

The Discovery

Research has been going on in recent years about the effect of inflamed gums and other health conditions. It had been suspected for some time that there is a relation. Due to increased research, the results have revealed that there is a connection with many serious health conditions – many of which could be fatal, the World Dental Federation says. 

The Cause

There are many different types of bacteria in your mouth. While most of them will not hurt you, it is important to help control the unhealthy ones. Reducing your sugar intake will help, and so will ensuring you have healthy amounts of saliva (some medications, alcohol, and drugs will reduce it).

The bacteria that is often first revealed as gingivitis, and which causes bleeding and inflamed gums, can get into the blood stream from your mouth. Once there, the bacteria travels through it to your major organs, where it can start to cause health problems. 

The Disease Connection

While more research still needs to be conducted, it is already known that gum disease, particularly periodontal disease, is behind many bad health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more. 

Many other diseases are also believed to be the result of gum inflammation. Among them are the following: rheumatoid arthritis, cancers of the head and neck, respiratory disease, eating disorders, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and more. 

Statistics from Perio.org indicate that men in particular with gum disease have a greatly increased risk of developing some cancers. They are 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer, and about 30 percent more likely to get different kinds of blood cancer. 

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease has many symptoms. You may have bleeding gums, swollen gums, and receding gums. There may also be pus between your gums and teeth, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, or a change in the way your dentures fit. 

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that will increase the likelihood of getting gum disease, or that will make it worse. These include: diabetes, female hormonal changes, genetics, medications that reduce the flow of saliva, and AIDS. Other factors include stress, other diseases, grinding your teeth, poor eating habits, and obesity.

Men have a higher risk level (56%) of getting periodontal disease than women (38.4). Older people have an even higher risk – with as many as 70 percent of people over 65 having the oral disease.

Smoking also increases your risk of gum disease, and it is the one thing that is most likely to cause it. It will also reduce the effectiveness of any gum disease treatment for it. 

Men and Gum Disease

Since men have a higher risk of having periodontitis, they need to be aware that there are some problems that are related to periodontal disease. Having gum disease raises your risk of getting cancer by 14 percent. It will also raise your PSA levels. Research also indicates that if you have periodontitis that you are also at a higher risk of impotence, particularly if you are younger than 30 or older than 70. 

The Key to Better Long Term Health

You can change the risk of having gum disease ruin your health. If you already have gingivitis, or periodontitis, you need to take steps to eliminate it. There is no cure, but you can minimize its growth. 

The best form of control is to brush your teeth, gums, and tongue regularly – preferably after meals. Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove all bacteria and plaque between your teeth. A mouthwash will also help reduce unwanted bacteria. If you have gingivitis, these steps should eliminate it, but you must do it regularly. 

If you have periodontitis, you should see a periodontist for an evaluation. There are four stages of periodontitis, and a periodontist will make recommendations for periodontal disease treatment.

Eating healthy is also necessary for good control over the bacteria that causes gum disease. For best results, quit smoking and drinking alcohol, eat less sugary foods and drinks (especially sodas, fruit drinks, and energy drinks, which causes the bad bacteria to grow), and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. 

If you have gum disease and need periodontal treatment, you need to see a periodontist before it gets worse and affects your health. Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board certified Periodontist, can provide treatment for all phases of the disease. He has offices in the Carrollton, Dallas, Cedar Hill and Grapevine, TX areas. For more information, or to set up an appointment, call his office today at (214) 731-0123.