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Systemic illnesses linked to oral disease

A growing body of research reveals that people who suffer from moderate to severe periodontal disease and gingivitis may be unknowingly affecting their overall healthfulness as bacterial poisons known as endotoxins are released into the bloodstream through infected gums.

shutterstock_329196521Evidence suggests that the link between gum infections and cardiovascular disease in particular is quite strong, and even notable physician Dr. Oz has spoken about the wide assortment of health risks associated with untreated gum disease.

“People with gum disease (periodontal disease and gingivitis) may harbor up to 500 species of bacteria and the proximity of that bacteria to the normally sterile bloodstream can be worrisome. Bacteria can enter small blood vessels, travel to other parts of the body, release toxins, and trigger inflammatory chemicals that assault arteries and organs,” says Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Gum disease and tooth loss now is considered a harbinger for coronary artery disease, infective endocarditis, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke. Periodontal bacteria also have been detected in the mouths and amniotic fluid of women who have experienced premature labor or miscarriage. This also may contribute to low birth weight.”

How poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease

People with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer strokes and coronary artery disease — both conditions that may be associated with inflammation of the blood vessels. Even in healthy mouths, the groove between the teeth and gum is teeming with bacteria. If teeth and gums are not cared for properly, harmful colonies of bacteria will increase in mass and thickness until they form the sticky film known as plaque.

In a healthy mouth shutterstock_208219309plaque actually provides some barrier against outside bacterial invasion, but when it accumulates to extreme levels, it adheres to the surfaces of the teeth and adjacent gums and causes infection which, if left untreated, turns into periodontal disease.

As periodontal disease progresses toxic oral bacteria travel into the gums, where it then multiplies and produces toxins. This action can create a chronic inflammatory response in the mouth, triggering a breakdown of tissues and bone that surround the teeth, opening up pockets of space that can then become infected – or infested with toxic bacteria.

A system-wide invasion

Over time, as periodontal disease affects both the bone and tissue where they form a connection, inflammatory compounds begin to seep into the bloodstream. As these toxic compounds circulate throughout the body they can harm the lining of blood vessels – a process which is known to lead to strokes shutterstock_130094222and heart attacks. A routine of good oral hygiene is one of the ways to ensure that the body is not susceptible to chronic inflammation and other associated health issues including:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • diabetes
  • low preterm birth weight
  • respiratory disease
  • osteoporosis
  • digestive disorders

Since the bacteria stemming from gum disease may spread throughout the body causing harm to more than just the teeth and gums we recommend that patients have their teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year. Treatment of oral bacteria with proper oral care, mouth rinses and a good routine at home can reduce the complication of chronic disorders. Contact our office to learn more about how to keep your gums healthy.

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