There are over 1,000 different types of bacteria in our mouths, so it’s not surprising our dental health can have a large impact on our overall health. Even though gum disease is serious, it can be easily ignored because it is painless at first. However, gum disease is considered a chronic, low-grade infection, and research is showing that gum disease is linked to a higher risk for a variety of health conditions. The inflammatory response is a key factor to consider in gum disease. Gum disease produces a very large amount of bacteria, and your gums become inflamed as a response to infection. Your bloodstream carries organisms from your mouth throughout the rest of your body, creating a large-scale inflammatory response.
Heart Disease: There is a strong body of research showing that gum disease can increase risk of heart disease, but it is still unknown if a cause-effect relationship exists.
Diabetes: Gum disease is considered a complication of diabetes which can increase blood sugar. A recent study indicates that good dental health can increase good measures of blood sugar.
Pregnancy Complications: Studies have shown that pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease because of fluctuations in their hormones. In addition, gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low-birth weight babies.
Other illnesses: Other illnesses that gum disease has been linked to are stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis and respiratory disease.
Think of it like this: as you skin is to your muscles and bones, your gums are to your teeth. Your gums protect your teeth and the structures that hold them in place. Take care of them and they will take care of you.