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3 Ways Gum Disease Affects the Whole Body

There are many ways that the health of your mouth is important for your overall health. Gum disease that results from poor oral health care can increase your risk for several other kinds of serious health problems. Let’s look at these 3 ways gum disease affects your whole body.

1. Gum Disease is a Bacterial Infection

Gum disease results from harmful bacteria that are present in the mouth, but that doesn’t mean the bacteria stay in the mouth. The inside of your mouth is a very vascular area, and that means it’s easy for the bacteria that cause gum disease to pass into your bloodstream.

This presents several health risks. First, of course, is the damage done in the mouth itself. Aside from that, however, is that the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and colonize other areas of the body. From the mouth, bacteria often colonize areas of the heart that help to open and close the valves that regulate the flow of blood through the heart.

This is a condition called bacterial endocarditis, and it can result in a heart murmur. That’s why your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before you have a dental procedure done. Bacterial endocarditis is rare, but it isn’t the only problem caused by oral infection.

2. Gum Disease and Renal Function

Another problem associated with gum disease is kidney failure. Part of the body’s response to a bacterial infection, such as gum disease, is inflammation. Chronic inflammation has several effects on your overall health.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham found that just a 10% increase in gum inflammation causes a reduction in the function of your kidneys by 3%. Over a five-year period, that translates into an increased risk of kidney failure from 32% to 34%.

What’s more, a 10% reduction in the function of your kidneys causes an increase in periodontal inflammation by 25%. That shows just how big an impact gum disease can have on your overall health.

3. Chronic Gum Disease Causes Chronic Inflammation

Aside from affecting the heart and the kidneys directly, when the bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontitis travel to other parts of the body, it creates system-wide inflammation. That can eventually result in other diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.

Your mouth is not separate from the rest of your body; it’s essentially a gateway that gives access to the rest of the body. If a bacterial infection causing gum disease in the mouth goes untreated, it affects your body’s ability to fight off other diseases.

It’s like fighting a war on two fronts. Your body is using its immune system resources to fight the infection in your mouth, which gives other problems an opportunity to set up and start flourishing. That’s why proper oral healthcare is essential to your overall health and wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

Your mouth is an important part of your body, and its health effects more than just your teeth. It’s critical to take proper care of your teeth and gums as part of your overall healthcare regimen. At Duval Periodontics, we’re happy to help you care for your mouth to make your whole body smile!