Gum Disease May be Killing More than Your Smile

Gum Disease May be Killing More than Your Smile

Periodontal, or gum disease, may be one of the most common chronic infections in humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. Your gums and underlying bone provide the foundation for your teeth. Harmful bacteria can infect your gums and cause harmful pockets or gaps around your teeth. These pockets, which can be measured by a dental professional, can cause damage to the foundation around your teeth and can lead to other health issues. Some symptoms of periodontal disease outlined by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: Tender, red, or swollen gums Bleeding gums Receding gums or longer looking teeth Loose teeth Sensitive teeth Painful chewing Bad breath that won’t go away There is a documented link between gum disease and a variety of other health issues. Cardiovascular Disease.  Studies have shown that the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, heart disease, and stroke is higher in people with periodontal disease.  This may be because the bacteria and plaque in the mouth is entering the blood stream and then attaching to the walls of the heart or blood vessels, or even attaching to the blood itself, causing clotting. Diabetes.  There is also a strong link between gum disease and diabetes. The connection between diabetes and periodontal disease appears to be a two-way street; people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease, and gum disease in turn complicates diabetes. Other conditions linked to periodontal disease: Rheumatoid arthritis Respiratory tract diseases or infections (like pneumonia and COPD) Osteoporosis and bone loss Erectile dysfunction Premature...