Your mouth can serve as a window into the overall health of your body. It’s often the first place where lesions and other symptoms of nutritional deficiencies, as well as diseases like diabetes and AIDS, develop.
There’s also growing evidence that shows periodontitis, or gum, disease can be a very serious health condition that affects more than just your oral health. An increasing number of studies are showing a link between oral health and the overall health of the body. Poor oral health can result in heart disease, prenatal problems, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious medical conditions.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an oral infection that affects the soft tissue of gums. It’s caused by the bacteria in plaque, an invisible film that covers your teeth. Your gums react to the infection by becoming red and inflamed. Symptoms of gum disease include swollen, red, and tender gums.
Gum disease is common and easily treatable in its early stages. Left unchecked, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and worse.
Gum Disease and Heart Disease
It appears as if the bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease may also affect other areas of the body as well. Many individuals who have periodontal disease also have cardiovascular problems. Several studies suggest that the same oral bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay may be linked to heart disease, arterial blockages, and stroke.
Gum Disease and Diabetes
People with diabetes often have periodontal disease. They are likely to have more serious gum disease problems than those who don’t have diabetes. There are also studies that suggest people with periodontitis have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
Gum Disease and Pregnancy
Oral health may also affect pregnancy. It’s very important for pregnant women to pay special attention to their oral health during their pregnancy. The changing hormone levels that occur during pregnancy can exaggerate some dental problems. In addition, pregnant women with gum disease may be at increased risk of delivering preterm and/or low-birth-weight infants.
Other Possible Health Risks of Gum Disease
In addition to heart disease, diabetes, and pregnancy, poor oral health and gum disease are also linked to:
- Respiratory infections
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cognitive impairments
Good Oral Hygiene Is Good for Your Entire Body
Maintaining good oral hygiene habits is essential for more than just maintaining a bright, beautiful smile. Failing to maintain these good oral hygiene habits can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and worse.
Healthy oral hygiene habits include:
- Brushing and flossing twice a day
- Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse once a day
- Eating a healthy diet and avoiding foods and drinks high in sugar or acids.
- Not smoking
- Getting regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleaning
Periodontitis develops over time. Schedule a visit with your dentist if you begin to experience any of the following warning signs of gum disease:
- Persistent bad breath
- Your teeth are loose
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Dried, swollen, or tender gums
- Changes in the way your dentures fit
- Gums that are receding away from your teeth
- Pus or sores between your teeth or gums
There are several treatment options for periodontitis. For mild cases, professional cleaning of the spaces between the teeth and gum may be sufficient. Topical antiseptics, penicillins, and antibiotics may be used. In more serious cases, surgery may be needed to remove the diseased tissue.
The Dental Space is the Place for the Best Family Dental Care in San Marcos, TX
The Dental Space wants you to have the brightest and healthiest smile possible. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited the dentist, now’s the time to schedule a dental checkup. We always welcome new patients.
The Dental Space is a San Marcos, TX family dentist clinic that provides a full spectrum of family dental services, including checkups and cleanings, extractions, bridgework, teeth whitening, crowns, fillings, and more. Dr. McCartor and his team of oral hygienists use the most advanced equipment and pain-free procedures to treat their patients. We serve patients of all ages — even those as young as six months.
Don’t let poor oral health affect your overall health. Contact The Dental Space online or call us today at 512-667-9770 to schedule an appointment to see Dr. McCartor. We’re located in San Marcos, TX at 1101 Thorpe Ln, Suite 101, just off IH 35 in the Springtown Center Shopping Mall. The Dental Space happily accept Medicaid and CHIP, as well as most PPO plans, and provide patients with a wide range of payment options.