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The Connections Between Gum Disease & Overall Health


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An overview of gum disease, and how it can lead to more serious health concerns if not treated properly.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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The Connections Between Gum Disease & Overall Health

  1. 1. THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN GUM DISEASE & OVERALL HEALTH S I D E EFFECTS OF GUM DISEASE WHAT IS GUM DISEASE? Keeping your teeth and gums clean does more than prevent cavities — it can have significant benefits for your overall health and help prevent a host of diseases. Gum disease begins as gingivitis, which is characterized by tender, swollen gums caused by a buildup of harmful bacteria on your teeth. If it’s not addressed, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more serious condition where your gums can begin to recede and expose the roots of your teeth. Periodontitis also can lead to harmful bacteria attacking the bone tissue that supports your teeth, leading to tooth loss and serious infections. Research has shown there are links between gum disease and other health issues. For instance, gum disease has been linked to diabetes and dementia. This guide illustrates some of the connections between gum disease and overall health. TIPS FOR PREVENTING GUM DISEASE: • Brush and floss twice daily • Use toothpaste containing fluoride • Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco • Limit sugary drinks and foods • Always eat a well-balanced diet CANCER: More than two-thirds of people who have pancreatic cancer also reported having periodontal disease. IF YOU HAVE DIABETES: Diabetes restricts blood flow to the gums and hurts their ability to fight infection. Higher blood glucose levels as a result of diabetes also encourage bacteria growth, increasing the risk of infection. DEMENTIA: People who have advanced gum disease have been shown to perform worse at memory tests, indicating a link between gum disease and dementia. STROKE: Bacteria present due to periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and cause hardening of the arteries, leading to damage to blood vessels and increasing the risk of stroke. PREGNANCY ISSUES: Pregnant women with periodontal disease have a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight.