While dental problems may seem like just an issue with your mouth, some dental problems can be far-reaching, especially when it comes to periodontal disease, also called gum disease. As infection- and decay-causing bacteria wreak havoc on your gums and teeth, they may also affect other areas of your body, including your heart and brain.
At Peninsula Dental Excellence in Mountain View, CA, our team of dental experts offers top-notch care for all stages of gum disease. The good news is that there’s plenty we can do to stop gum disease before it casts a wide net over your health. The earlier we act, the better your outcome.
To explore the impact of periodontal disease and the negative effects it can have on other areas of your body, read on.
Periodontal disease 101
As plaque builds up along your gums, this can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. The plaque releases a toxin that irritates your gums, which is what causes the swelling and bleeding.
If your gingivitis goes untreated, it can soon turn into periodontitis, which means bacteria are making their way up under your gums. Soon, your gums can begin to pull away from your teeth and form pockets that harbor more bacteria. This bacteria will then set to work to destroy your bone and connective tissue.
As periodontitis progresses, the damage can lead to bone and tooth loss.
Far-reaching consequences of periodontal disease
Besides affecting your teeth, gums, and jawbones, untreated gum disease can have a wider impact on your health, starting with your heart. Studies have shown that gum disease can raise your risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 20%.
Gum disease has also been linked to an increased risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy, such as preterm delivery and low birth weights.
A recent study has also unearthed a link between gum disease and dementia, namely, Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, researchers studied the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients and found the presence of porphyromonas gingivalis, a pathogen associated with gum disease. While there’s still much to learn about the link between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the preliminary findings suggest that taking early action against gum disease is a good idea.
Taking action against periodontal disease
The good news is that periodontal disease is highly treatable, especially in its early stages. If you have gingivitis, a professional cleaning at one of our offices is usually enough to clear the condition and prevent periodontitis from setting in.
If periodontitis has taken hold, we may need to get more aggressive with a scaling and root planing procedure, which is highly effective at stopping and reversing gum disease.
If you’d like to protect your dental and overall health against the perils of periodontal disease, book an appointment with the professionals at Peninsula Dental Excellence. Call us at (650) 264-9219 or use the online scheduling tool.