Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, refers primarily to chronic inflammation of the gums and the surrounding tissues. Recent data from the CDC show that about one half of American adults have at least some degree of gum disease.
Beyond tooth and bone loss, research is also showing links between gum disease and more serious health issues. This makes it even more imperative for those showing symptoms of gum disease to get to their dentist for a checkup.
Studies are showing a relationship between gum disease and the following health conditions:
Cardiovascular issues — The areas being studied here are the way in which bacteria living in the inflamed gum tissue can make its way from the mouth down into the lining of the heart and blood vessels. Research is ongoing, but the early findings are scary.
Diabetes — The link between diabetes and gum disease is a two-way street. First, high levels of glucose in the blood can alter protein molecules, which can lead to inflammation is areas such as the mouth. Conversely, swelling in the gums can also lead to buildup of cytokines, a type of protein that can alter the metabolism of sugar and fat, possibly interfering with insulin regulation.
Premature Births — Several studies have shown a correlation between women who give birth prematurely and existing gum disease during pregnancy.
So, gum disease isn’t just about your teeth and gums any longer. It can impact other, more critical areas of your body, too. If you think you may have gum disease, call us at the Doctors of Dental Medicine and make an appointment, 732-329-3113.