The decision to improve our health typically starts with a new diet or a membership to a gym, but more and more, we’re finding that the mouth would also be a good place to start. Many Americans are currently suffering from gum (periodontal) disease and don’t realize it. Even more people fail to realize a key link exists between oral and overall health.
Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque—the bacteria-filled film that forms on teeth and can sometimes feel sticky or “fuzzy.” Left untreated, it can cause deterioration of the gum tissue and bone, which can lead to receding gums and possibly tooth loss. But it doesn’t always stop there. Studies show gum disease can also contribute to major health issues, such as:
Research has shown the link between gum disease and heart health; people with gum disease can be twice as likely to suffer from hearth disease. Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream which can then enter the bloodstream through heart vessels and thus cause infection or inflammation.
Severe gum disease can seriously increase the likelihood of suffering a stroke than those with healthy gums.
People suffering from diabetes already have a hard time fighting infection and healing and gum disease makes it even harder. Oral infections make it harder to control blood sugar and can lead to an increased risk of diabetic nephropathy and heart disease.
The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that chronic gum inflammation can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.