Research in recent years has shown connections between periodontal disease and other serious medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and pregnancy complications. We have also learned that women are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease. We invite you to contact our office at 801-394-6651 to learn more about how gum disease can affect your overall health, and to schedule your appointment with Dr. Aaron T. Ward, your experienced periodontist in Ogden, Utah.
Gum Disease & Diabetes
Diabetes is a medical condition characterized by too much sugar in the blood. People with diabetes are much more likely to develop periodontal disease than those without diabetes. There are several factors behind this increased risk:
- Diabetes slows circulation of the blood, allowing bacteria to colonize
- Diabetes reduces the body’s overall resistance to infection
- Elevated sugar levels promote the growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease
- Diabetes thickens blood vessels, making it more difficult to remove waste products from the body
Gum Disease, Heart Disease, & Stroke
Patients with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than those with healthy mouths. When strands of periodontal bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (the cause behind heart disease), it leads to a clot formation that increases the risk of a heart attack. These bacteria also cause inflammation, which increases the number of white blood cells and reactive proteins in the blood, which triggers the body’s inflammatory response. The inflamed arteries can lead to blockage, which then triggers a heart attack or stroke.
Gum Disease & Respiratory Disease
Respiratory disease occurs when fine droplets of moisture are inhaled into the lungs. When you have gum disease, the bacteria that grow in your mouth can travel into your lungs, spreading and multiplying within that area to impair your breathing. This can result in you developing pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. It can also worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a respiratory condition caused primarily by smoking, and characterized by a blockage of the airways.
Gum Disease & Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is more common in older patient, particularly women. This condition causes your bone tissue to thin over time, resulting in less bone density. Periodontal disease also causes bone loss, as the inflammation from the disease weakens bones and makes them more likely to break down. Patients with osteoporosis are significantly more likely to develop gum disease. Fortunately, patients with osteoporosis can also reduce tooth loss by controlling periodontal disease.
Gum Disease & Pregnancy
Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes, which increases the risk of developing periodontal disease. When left untreated, gum disease can cause preeclampsia (a condition where the baby is born underweight) and trigger premature birth. Practicing effective home care during pregnancy can help to avoid many of these problems and protect both mother and child. Our periodontist can help you assess your oral health and develop a home care and periodontal treatment plan to meet your needs.
Women & Gum Disease
Generally speaking, women are much more likely to develop gum disease, due to hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking special care of your oral health during these periods of life helps you to maintain healthy gums and avoid developing periodontal disease.
- Puberty – Puberty increases the levels of hormones in the body, which in turn increases gum sensitivity and leads to greater irritation from plaque and food particles. Practicing good oral hygiene can help to reduce these symptoms and avoid developing periodontal disease.
- Menstruation – Symptoms of gum disease may occasionally appear several days before menstruation. They usually dissipate after your period has started.
- Pregnancy – Between the second and eighth month of pregnancy, your gums may swell, bleed, feel tender, or become unusually red. Large lumps may also appear. These problems often disappear shortly after delivery, but in some cases may require professional attention. Practice good oral hygiene during your pregnancy, and meet with our periodontist to monitor your oral condition and receive any necessary treatments to protect your health and your child’s health.
- Oral Contraceptives – Oral contraceptives are synthetic hormones, and may cause swelling, bleeding, and tenderness in your gums. Before you receive any kind of dental or medical treatment, mention any contraceptives or other medications you may be taking. This will help reduce the risk of drug interactions.
- Menopause – Your mouth may look or feel different during or following menopause. Some of these changes including feeling pain or burning in your gum tissue, salty, peppery, or sour tastes, and a dry mouth. Professional cleanings and thorough at-home hygiene practices can help to relieve your symptoms.
For more information on periodontal disease and the mouth-body connection, please contact our office and schedule your appointment with our caring periodontist.