- Published on Thursday, 17 September 2015 11:37
For a long time dentists have thought that infections in the mouth could be related to health in other parts of the body. It makes sense really as the mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. Call us at Beale & Cullen Dental on (03) 354 5450 to schedule a time for one of our dentists to assess your gum health.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an often painless process caused by plaque, a sticky film that collects on teeth and gums. Not removing plaque properly can lead to gums being red, puffy and bleeding. Pockets can form between the gums and teeth as the gums pull away from the teeth and if you don’t do anything about it the bone around the teeth can start to resorb. Untreated gum disease can lead to infections, bad breath, loose teeth and eventually false teeth!
There is now strong science supporting that some health problems may be caused or made worse by poor gum health and a lot of research is presently being done to fully understand the links between gum disease and premature births, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy
There is a 25% chance a pregnant woman who has gum disease will give birth prematurely and women whose gum disease deteriorates during pregnancy increase the risk even more of premature birth. You can be proactive though as research shows us you can reduce the risk of a premature birth by treating active gum disease in pregnancy.
How Can Gum Disease Affect My Heart?
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery (heart) disease than people without gum disease. It is thought that bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream. The bacteria produces a protein that can then affect the heart by causing the platelets in the blood to stick together in the blood vessels of the heart and this makes clots more likely to form. Blood clots decrease normal blood flow so that the heart does not get all the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a heart attack.
Is There A Link Between Strokes and Gum Disease?
Scientists looking for a link between strokes and gum disease have found people who have had a stroke are more likely to have gum disease than people who have not had a stroke.
Does Diabetes Influence My Gum Health?
Diabetics are more likely than those without diabetes to have gum disease. This is most likely because diabetics have an increased tendency to infection.
Gum disease may increase blood sugar leading to diabetic complications so it is important to diagnose and treat gum disease in diabetics promptly.