How does poor dental health and gum disease affect the body?

 Amazing Smiles  Estimate Reading Time: 7 minutes

Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall health? Various clinical studies have found that gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease can be linked to health problems in other parts of the body.

Regular routine dental visits along with good oral hygiene habits at home can improve your overall health and well-being.

Graph from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/more-evidence-of-link-between-severe-gum-disease-and-cancer-risk

Tooth decay and gum disease is linked to health problems, including inflammation, brain, respiratory or heart infections.

Tooth Decay Linked to Bodies HealthResearch studies have found gum disease can be attributed to health issues, which include:

  • Heart problems – increased risk of heart disease (3)
  • Cognitive Brain Function
  • Pregnancy and birth complications – Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight
  • Increased risk of Cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Diabetes

With some of these findings, it’s been concluded that further controlled clinical trials and exploration is required. Additional extensive research may lead to novel approaches to help mitigate some cancers by reducing inflammation caused by periodontal pathogens.

How your oral health is linked to the health of your heart

gum disease linked to Heart InflammationPoor dental hygiene increases the risk of bacterial infection. Infection can then reach the blood stream, effecting the heart from inflammation. Studies by the Mayo Clinic (1) have found that this may lead to illnesses such as endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium).

According to the American Heart Association, poor oral hygiene can also lead to other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Studies have shown a correlation between inflammation caused by oral bacterial disease (2).

Poor dental hygiene and its effects on the brain and cognitive function

gum disease can effect cognitive functionA study of 597 men up to the age of 32, have found that tooth loss and periodontal disease can affect cognitive function in the brain (4).  Clinical research indicates that risks from cognitive decline in aged men increases with the loss of more teeth. Periodontal disease and decay (caries), tooth loss, were linked to cognitive decline.

Another study has found that a pathogens from periodontal disease known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), can potentially reach the brain (5).

A published study of 48 elderly cognitively normal subjects, have found increased levels of Bbeta-amyloid. Amyloid beta is a key biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Down syndrome (6).

Dental health linked to pregnancy and birth complications

Female bodies undergo dramatic hormonal changes during pregnancy. As hormones change, a females body will begin to react to bacteria differently. This includes oral bacteria such as plaque, which can lead to swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated by a dentist, more serious forms can lead to periodontitis and gingivitis (7).

Nausea and vomiting, which is common among pregnant woman may also lead to enamel damage (8). This may also be further accelerated with the change in eating habits.

Studies have shown a link between periodontitis and pregnancy issues, including; preterm birth and low birth weight (9, 10).

Gum Disease Increases the risks of Cancer

A clinical study of over 68,273 adults with a 10 year follow up  has shown a positive association between periodontitis and cancer mortality (11).

Another study has also shown an increased link with digestion and  pancreatic cancers (12). The extensive review by Jean Wactawski-Wende, Robert J. Genco provided a comprehensive assessment from multiple past research data sources to find plausible links between periodontal disease and different cancer risks.

Available data collected from epidemiologic evidence on the link between periodontal disease and cancer has mostly pointed to positive. Trial based participants with severe periodontitis were found to have an increased rate of developing cancer when compared to individuals with mild to no periodontitis.  The highest risk was observed in cases of lung cancer, followed by digestion related cancers. The findings from clinical investigative studies linking gym disease to cancers requires further investigation taking into account external factors such as lifestyle, diet, drug use, smoking and exercise that may also attribute towards individual health.

Gum disease linked to an increase risk of erectile dysfunction

Another meta-analysis study has shown that men with severe periodontitis had an increased chance of suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) when compared to men without gum disease (13).

Gum diseases have been tied to higher risks of cardiovascular and prolonged chronic inflammation. These can result to strokes and hardening of the arteries. Both conditions are also linked to erectile dysfunction. The gum disease bacteria known as Porphyromonas Gingivalis releases toxins into the blood stream. These toxins can attack the arteries which cause inflammation, therefore, effecting blood flow throughout the body.

Inflammation, which is caused by bacterial infection of the gums can  damage blood vessels that lead to impotence.


If you haven’t visit the dentist for a check-up and clean or require gum disease treatment make an enquiry and make an appointment at your nearest Amazing Smiles clinic today. A simple check-up and clean may help identify signs of tooth decay and gum disease. A recommended dental plan will be provided to accommodate appropriate treatment time.

Early detection and treatment may help to prevent irreversible further damage to your teeth and gums. Severe tooth and gum disease could result in tooth loss.


     

    References:

    Gum disease research studies linked Heart Related Issues

    Gum disease research studies linked Brain Function

    Gum disease research studies linked Pregnancy and Birth

    Gum disease research studies linked to Cancer

    Gum disease studies linked to Erectile Dysfunction

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