Research has shown there is a strong association between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease. Chronic inflammation of the gum tissue and bone caused by infection below the gum line and the ability of the bacteria to enter the blood stream from under the gums is thought to be the cause.
Periodontal Disease Can Adversely Affect Your Health!
Studies have shown that individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Additionally, untreated periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels which make controlling the amount of glucose in the blood difficult. This factor alone can increase the risk of serious diabetic complications.
Untreated periodontal disease carries an increase risk for heart attack. Oral bacteria which causes periodontal disease enters the blood stream from under the gums and attaches themselves to the coronary arteries. This in turn contributes to both blood clot formation and the narrowing of the coronary arteries, possibly leading to a heart attack.
Additionally, inflammation of periodontal disease causes changes in the walls of the arteries of the heart. This can swell the arteries and worsen pre-existing heart conditions. Periodontal disease also elevates C-reactive proteins (which have previously been linked to heart disease). An article published in The Journal of American Academy of Periodontology suggests that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Women in general are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease because of hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Research suggests that pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia and delivering underweight, premature babies.
Periodontitis increases levels of prostaglandin, which is one of the labor-inducing chemicals. Elevated levels prostaglandin may trigger premature labor and increase the chances of delivering an underweight baby. Periodontal disease also elevates C-reactive proteins (which have previously been linked to heart disease). Heightened levels of these proteins can amplify the inflammatory response of the body and increase the chances of preeclampsia and low birth weight babies.
Oral bacteria linked with gum disease have been shown to possibly cause or worsen conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Oral bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and colonize in the lungs, causing bacterial infections. Studies have shown that the repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis.
In addition to the bacterial risk, inflammation in gum tissue can lead to severe inflammation in the lining of the lungs which aggravates pneumonia. Individuals who suffer from chronic or persistent respiratory issues generally have low immunity. This means that bacteria can more readily colonize beneath the gum line unchallenged by body’s immune system.
If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and the mouth-body connection, please feel free to call the office.
Jenkintown Periodontics & Dental Implants, LLC
Dr. Neal B. Suway & Dr. Jeremy Toscano
Dental Implants, Cosmetic and Laser Periodontics
261 Old York Road Suite 319
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Phone: (215) 887-6060
Convenient to Philadelphia, Abington, Willow Grove, Elkins Park, Cheltenham, Horsham, Warminster, and Hatboro