A portion of our patients come in for their regular checkups, and it’s a shame, but we often see bleeding gums. I’m by no means trying to scare you with this message, but this is very important to me and I want to stress the possible dangers to you. There are so many correlations of overall health and your gums. It’s not uncommon for my patients not to realize this.
Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease. If caught in the early stages, it is reversible. Nevertheless, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, and it can affect far more than your teeth. Here are some of the ways gum disease can affect your overall health.
Gum Disease and Your Brain
Even though your gums are close to your brain, you probably don’t think about a connection between gum disease and neurological disorders. However, research is uncovering links between gum disease, lost teeth, and impaired cognitive functions. It’s been found that periodontal disease boosts the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain, a significant marker for Alzheimer’s. Scientists hope that in the future they might help stop the progress of Alzheimer’s in some cases by targeting the enzymes created by periodontitis-causing bacteria.
Gum Disease and Your Heart
Several studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. Those who smoke or drink alcohol excessively are already known to have a greater risk of gum disease. This group also has a higher risk for heart disease, so there is that shared connection. In addition, some researchers believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease ultimately creates inflammation in the cardiovascular system, leading to coronary issues.
Gum Disease and Cancer
An enzyme produced by a type of bacteria commonly seen in gum disease is also commonly seen in certain tumors of the gastrointestinal system. This enzyme helps bacteria invade the gum tissue, and it has been shown to activate other cancer-producing enzymes as they advance into healthy tissue.
There also seems to be a link between gum disease and erectile dysfunction, as well as gum disease and lung problems, including cancer. New research continues to explore the links listed here, as well as possible links to other diseases. The bottom line is that good dental hygiene can reduce your risk of developing a range of serious health problems.
Once Again, Prevention Is the Best Medicine
Regular brushing and flossing, along with regular checkups and cleaning, goes a long way toward preventing gum disease from developing. How long has it been since your last checkup? We proudly serve the Chicago, Illinois, area, so call today for an appointment to make sure you never have to worry about the dangers of gum disease.