How gum disease can affect your body

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a common dental issue that often stems from poor oral hygiene. However, the detrimental effects go beyond the mouth, with many research bodies linking gum disease to serious health conditions. At Bay Area Dental Specialists, we offer periodontal disease treatment and deep cleanings to restore a healthy mouth and body. 


Cardiovascular Disease and Gum Disease 

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that starts with red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or floss. Bleeding gums allow bacteria to spread through your bloodstream and damage other areas of your body, including the heart. People with gum disease may have a higher risk for coronary artery disease, and there are several theories as to why these conditions are linked. The bacteria infecting the gums may cause blood vessel inflammation in the body, creating tiny blood clots and increasing the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.


Another theory is that the body’s inflammatory response causes vascular damage in the heart and brain. Some believe the link is inconsequential and is more likely caused by a third factor: smokers are more likely to have gum disease and heart disease, and lack of access to dental care may worsen these odds, making the connection an association, not causation. 


Gum Disease and Diabetes

Managing diabetes and periodontal disease is a two-way street. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to gum disease because it thickens blood vessels and reduces their ability to deliver nutrients and remove cellular waste. The slowed blood flow weakens the gum tissues, and high blood sugar creates an environment for bacteria to flourish in the mouth fluids. Conversely, untreated gum disease makes diabetes management more difficult and causes blood sugar levels to rise. 


Gum disease may also worsen other medical conditions, such as asthma, due to the inflammatory immune system response. 


Gum Disease Treatment 

Early signs of gum disease are reversible with better dental hygiene. Still, advanced periodontitis may require scaling and root planing to remove plaque and build up above and underneath the gum line, creating a healthy environment for the gum tissues to heal. Regular maintenance cleanings and at-home care remove new bacteria and restore healthy gum tissue long-term. 


If you’re experiencing signs of gum disease, schedule a dental exam at Bay Area Dental Specialists in San Jose, California, to start your journey to a healthier mouth. Call our office at (408) 809-7760 or fill out our online form.