Dental hygiene is a crucial part of our health, and poor dental hygiene can lead to serious health concerns. As a matter of fact, there is a very strong link between periodontal disease and other systemic conditions, and scientific studies have shown a significant relationship between the two.
Many different systemic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory diseases, have been linked to periodontal disease.
In this post, we’ll discuss periodontal disease and the link between it and other systemic conditions. Let’s dig in, shall we?
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is best described as a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. It is caused by bacteria inside the plaque, the sticky film that constantly forms on our teeth. If this plaque is not removed at an early stage, it can harden into tartar, leading to gingivitis or gum inflammation. When gingivitis remains untreated, it can easily develop into Periodontitis, a more serious form of the ailment that eventually leads to tooth loss.
The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Conditions
A growing body of evidence from scientific studies suggests that periodontal disease may be linked to other systemic conditions that include stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. The precise nature of the relationship is not yet clear, but it is thought that the inflammation triggered by periodontal disease may play a role. Systemic diseases are those that affect the entire body, as opposed to a localized area.
One theory that links periodontal disease and other systemic conditions is that the bacterium that causes periodontal disease may also trigger the development of other diseases. Another theory is that inflammation caused by periodontal disease can spread throughout the body and aggravate other conditions.
Whatever the reason might be, it’s clear that there is a relationship between periodontal disease and other systemic conditions. This knowledge can help make decisions about treatment and prevention.
How Periodontal Disease Affects Pregnancy
One of the most serious risks associated with periodontal disease is its impact on pregnant women. Studies have revealed a significant link between periodontal disease and premature birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, periodontitis may have an effect on pregnancy. The study suggests that women with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to give birth to a premature baby or born before 37 weeks. They are also more likely to have a baby with low birth weight.
If you are expecting, it is important to see a dentist regularly and to let your oral health concerns be known to your dentist.
The Link between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
One common link between Periodontal disease and diabetes is that both are chronic inflammatory diseases. This means that they share some risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. They also share a common pathway in the body called the inflammatory cascade.
The inflammatory cascade is a series of events that happens in the body when it is fighting an infection. The first step is when bacteria enter the body and start to multiply. This triggers the release of inflammatory chemicals, which help to fight the infection. According to Diabetologia, People with diabetes are two times more likely to develop periodontal disease than those without diabetes. And people with periodontal disease are also more likely to develop diabetes.
There are a few reasons for this link. First, elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to the gums and make them more susceptible to infection. Second, bacteria that cause periodontal disease can also enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body.
It’s important to be aware of this link and to get regular dental checkups if you have diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease is essential for preventing any further damage.
How Periodontal Disease Can Affect Your Heart
There are a few ways that periodontal disease has been linked with heart disease. One is that the bacteria associated with Periodontitis can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the formation of clots. Clots are a significant cause of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, the inflammation caused by Periodontitis has been linked with an increased risk of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis happens to be a major risk factor for heart disease.
You may not even know you have Periodontitis, so it’s important to get regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist. Catching and treating Periodontitis in its early stages can help prevent further damage and reduce your risk for other systemic diseases.
The Connection between Periodontal Disease and Alzheimer’s
According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, periodontal disease may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that people with periodontal disease were more likely to have amyloid plaques in their brains, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
The authors suggest that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease may contribute to the development of amyloid plaques which trigger Alzheimer’s disease. Another possibility is that the bacteria that cause gum disease may also enter the brain and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.
As it stands, further research is needed to determine the exact connection between these two diseases. However, it’s imperative to be aware of the possibility and to see your dentist for regular checkups.
The Relationship between Periodontal Disease and Other Autoimmune Diseases
There is a strong relationship between periodontal disease and other autoimmune diseases. In fact, research has shown that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop another autoimmune disease. Some of the commonly diagnosed autoimmune disorders that are associated with periodontal disease include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and psoriasis. While the reason for this link is still unknown, it’s clear that there is a connection between the two.
If you suffer from any of these autoimmune diseases, it’s important to be extra vigilant about your oral health and regularly see a dentist for preventive care.
Considering the numerous studies that have been conducted on the connection between periodontal disease and other systemic conditions, it would be foolish to brush off periodontal disease as a merely oral health issue. It is vital to be proactive about your periodontal health, and if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, please see a dentist as soon as possible. Doing so may help to prevent more serious problems down the road.
If you’re concerned with your dental health or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, 21st Century Dentistry can help. We offer a range of treatments and techniques to help you improve your oral health and keep your smile looking its best.
Contact us today to schedule a checkup and gum cleaning to help prevent Periodontitis.