We don’t often think of our mouths as having any direct connection to the health of our bodies, but that couldn’t be less true. The more and more scientific research that goes into studying the mouth-body connection the more we learn about the impact of poor oral health on our bodies.
In order for your oral health to affect your health there needs to be a way for oral bacteria to get out of the digestive system and into the rest of your body. The easiest route (and the most frequent) it takes is via gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
We see plenty of patients at our Honolulu office who have gum disease and don’t even realize it. The symptoms aren’t always obvious if you don’t know what to look for, but once you know they can seem so apparent you don’t know how you missed them. Bacteria that gets beneath your gumline spreads infection and causes inflammation, which can completely ruin your oral health.
You might be suffering from gum disease if you notice:
- Gum recession
- Puffiness in the gums
- Gums that have a darker red color
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Loosening teeth
Untreated gum disease will eventually lead to tooth loss, which usually doesn’t stop with a single tooth. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today – we want to talk about how gum disease affects your body, which it can do from the earliest stages of gum disease.
How Gum Disease Spreads To Your Whole Body
Have you ever noticed a bit of bleeding when you brush? That’s one of the first, and most dangerous, signs of gum disease. Whenever your gums bleed you’re giving oral bacteria a ready access point to your bloodstream, and on to the rest of your body. Once it starts spreading specific strains can do different things to different parts of your body.
Most people aren’t at risk for all the health complications of gum disease, as we don’t all share the exact same oral bacteria. That doesn’t matter, though – all it takes is the wrong strain to potentially kill.
The Health Effects Of Gum Disease
Don’t assume that oral bacteria just causes simple problems – a lot of them are deadly, and others aggravate deadly conditions.
- Gum disease causes a lot of excess inflammation markers to build up in your blood, which can trigger heart disease, hypertension, and heart attacks.
- Kidney disease damages your immune system, making it easier to develop gum disease. It’s been found that kidney disease patients who also have gum disease have a much higher mortality rate.
- When the bacterial strain Streptococcus mutans gets to the brain it latches onto weak blood vessels, where it builds up over time. The buildup will eventually rupture the blood vessel, causing a hemorrhagic stroke.
- Pancreatic cancer rates are much higher in patients with a certain oral bacteria profile. If that stuff gets into the blood it’s a dangerous situation!
- Breast cancer patients have much higher rates of gum disease than the general population.
- Esophageal cancer cells grow with the aid of oral bacteria. Excess bacteria is usually washed away in the throat, but high levels due to gum disease can cause aggravation.
How To Prevent And Treat Gum Disease
Getting rid of gum disease once and for all can be tough, but we can do it at A Downtown Dental Group. Using advanced dental lasers, we vaporize bacteria and damaged tissue, leaving you with healthy gums that are ready to heal and repel dangerous bacteria.
But while treating gum disease may be difficult preventing it doesn’t have to be, which is why we always emphasise prevention first. In order to keep your gums healthy and stay in the minority of people who don’t end up with gum disease you have to take a few crucial steps.
First, make sure you’re always brushing your teeth twice a day. You need to spend at least two minutes doing it each time, and be sure to get every surface of your teeth and along the gumline.
Second, you need to floss every day – no exceptions. It only takes oral bacteria 24 hours to irritate your gums, which is the first step toward it getting beneath them and causing an infection. The space between your teeth is incredibly vulnerable to gum disease and decay, so cleaning them daily is a must.
Third, you need to be sure you’re getting a cleaning and exam every six months at our Honolulu office. If we see you regularly we’ll be able to catch problems early and treat them before they’re serious risks. There’s no other way to truly prevent gum disease.
Don’t Wait – Every Day Is Important
Gum disease can appear suddenly, but it takes time for it to actually get to the point where it’s visible. Do your body a favor and make an appointment to see us today! You can reach our office at 808-797-3680 or you can request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you!