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The Link Between Gum Disease and Health Conditions

Most people want a straight, white smile because it looks better or younger. What many people don’t realize is that good oral health is an indication that your body is healthy as well. There is a correlation between periodontal disease and a number of illnesses. According to one recent study, those with serious gum disease were up to 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition.

Doctors and dentists today are aware of these cross-overs in conditions and will often recommend that patients get checked for other illnesses that correlate, which is one good reason to be proactive with scheduling regular dental check-ups.

Three Conditions Affected By Your Oral health

There are known links between many different conditions, but those with gum disease are at a higher probability of also having these three common and serious illnesses.

  • Diabetes. Diabetes and periodontal disease go hand in hand. Inflammation in the gums is known to negatively impact the body’s ability to process and use insulin. In this particular case, the conditions will exacerbate each other — diabetes causes the body to lack the ability to fight infection, including gum infections, while inflammation inhibits the ability to regulate sugar.
  • Heart Disease. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease suffer from periodontal disease — a high enough correlation to take precautionary measures. Get a regular, thorough exam if you suffer from any form of gum disease. While the cause still isn’t clear, there is some speculation that having periodontitis raises the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Osteoporosis. It’s a natural warning sign that both osteoporosis and periodontal diseases are forms of bone loss. Osteoporosis tends to impact more women, while men have a higher incidence of gum disease. However, some researchers today are testing out the theory that gum disease inflammation may trigger bone loss in other areas of the body, besides the jaw.

Outside of these known conditions, there are also common medications that can impact oral health. More specifically, some side effects can be detrimental to teeth and gums over time. Side effects to be aware of and mention to your dentist include: dry mouth, abnormal bleeding, altered taste, oral sores or inflammation, enlarged gums and cavities, and any medication that is known to contribute to bone loss.

Schedule Your Check-Up

Information is power. The important thing is to realize that scheduling regular dental and medical check-ups can help you to maintain optimal health and stay on top of any potential problems before they become life-changing. Need a dental insurance policy? Visit our dental page to learn more about the plans available to you.