If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may be one of more than 60 million Americans with periodontal (gum) disease. This is an infection than involves over 500 types of microscopic organisms in your mouth, but it can also assault your body’s vital organs:
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Aching, red or puffy gums
- Loose or wobbly teeth
- Gum tissue pulling back from the teeth
- Halitosis (sour breath)
- Pus between the teeth
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Sudden change in your bite
- Spaces developing between the teeth
- Discovering food packed up in your gums
Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease
Studies have proved that periodontal disease is also linked to heart disease: the infection catalyzes a series of events that increase the inflammatory response throughout the body, including in your arteries. This can lead to blood clots, heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, bacteria originating from the mouth can adhere to the inner lining of the heart, causing infective endocarditis.
Periodontal Disease and Type II Diabetes
Chronic bacterial and viral infections can increase a person’s ability to withstand insulin, disrupting blood sugar control. For those who suffer from diabetes, further infection originating in the mouth can worsen insulin resistance and worsen the ability to keep blood sugar levels in balance. Thus, there is a vicious cycle between periodontal disease and diabetes which is why we encourage early detection and treatment of oral infections.
Periodontal Disease and Lung Disease
The oral bacteria in your gums can pervade your saliva, which is used to moisten your lung tissue. Here, they create a colony and induce swelling and inflammation, leading to lung diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
For these reasons, we go beyond caring for your teeth: we care for your body’s health and well-being as well.
Dr Gaudio says: “It is no longer good enough to just keep an eye on trouble spots in the gums. Instead, aggressively controlling periodontal disease will be a critical action step in preserving and improving our patients’ overall health and their enjoyment of life. In fact, it will mean that if our patients’ teeth and gums are not healthy, we can assume that they are not healthy overall.”