Studies have shown that periodontal disease (gum and bone disease) has been linked to:
- heart disease and stroke
- pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
- premature, low birth weight deliveries
Periodontal disease can put you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke – comparable to other risk factors such a smoking, family history and elevated cholesterol. Bacteria from the gums of someone with periodontal disease may travel through the bloodstream, potentially contributing to the formation of artery clogging plaques.
This periodontal disease may also contribute to inflammation of the lining of the heart and the heart valves (possibly from a bacterial infection). This can be a fatal infection if untreated.
Studies have shown that periodontal disease may also increase the risk of respiratory infections, in a similar way to smoking, advanced age and the presence of other conditions that weaken the immune system.
Respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may also be worsened because of periodontal disease.
People with diabetes are more prone to bacterial infections. Periodontal disease is one example. Having periodontal disease may worsen an existing condition of a diabetic or increase the risk of complications associated with diabetes.
Regular treatment from your dentist/dental hygienist is crucial to decrease inflammation of gums with those individuals with both periodontal disease and diabetes.
Research shows that expectant mothers with periodontal disease are at greater risk of having premature, low birth weight deliveries.
If you have or are at risk for any of the above conditions, it is even more important to take your oral health seriously! With regular, proper oral care, periodontal disease can be controlled.
For more information on this topic or other dental concerns consult your dental professional today. Please also visit www.cdha.ca (Canadian Dental Hygienists Association) or www.cda-adc.ca (Canadian Dental Association).