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

  Amazing Smiles   Estimate Reading Time: 6 minutes

Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall health?

Clinical studies have found that gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontal disease can be associated with health problems in other parts of the body.

Regular dental visits and good everyday oral hygiene habits 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 are linked to health problems, including inflammation, brain, respiratory or heart infections.

Tooth Decay Linked to Bodies Health Research 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 are essential.

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 Inflammation Poor dental hygiene increases the risk of bacterial infection. Infection can potentially reach the bloodstream, therefore affecting the heart.

Studies by the Mayo Clinic (1) found poor oral health may lead to heart illnesses such as endocarditis.

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers (endocardium).

According to the American Heart Association, poor oral hygiene can also lead to other cardiovascular conditions like 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 function A study of 597 men up to the age of 32, discovered that tooth loss and periodontal disease affect cognitive function in the brain (4).

Clinical research indicates that cognitive decline risks in aged men increase with the loss of more teeth. Periodontal disease and decay (caries), and tooth loss, were linked to cognitive decline.

Another study discovered that pathogens from Periodontal disease, known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), can potentially reach the brain (5).

A published study of 48 elderly cognitively normal subjects found increased levels of Beta-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 female’s body reacts differently to bacteria.

In addition, this includes oral bacteria such as plaque, leading to swollen and bleeding gums. When left untreated, more severe ramifications result in periodontitis and gingivitis (7).

Nausea and vomiting, common among pregnant women, may also lead to enamel damage (8).

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 ten year of follow up has shown a positive association between periodontitis and cancer mortality (11).

Another study has shown an increased link between digestion and pancreatic cancers (12). The extensive review by Jean Wactawski-Wende and Robert J. Genco provided a comprehensive assessment of 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 have mostly been positive.

Participants in the trial-based study with severe periodontitis were more likely to develop cancer than those with mild to no periodontitis.

The highest risk was observed in lung cancer cases, followed by digestion related cancers.

The findings from clinical investigative studies linking gum disease to cancers require further investigation into lifestyle, diet, drug use, smoking, and exercise that may contribute to individual health.

Gum disease is linked to an increased 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) than men without gum disease (13).

The gum disease bacteria known as Porphyromonas Gingivalis releases toxins into the bloodstream. These toxins can attack the arteries, which cause inflammation, therefore, affecting blood flow throughout the body. Gum diseases have been connected to higher risks of cardiovascular and prolonged chronic inflammation.

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


If you haven’t visited the dentist for a recent check-up and clean or require gum treatment, make an appointment at your nearest Amazing Smiles clinic today for better oral health.

A simple check-up and clean may help identify tooth decay and gum disease signs. A dental plan will be provided to accommodate appropriate treatment time.

Early detection and treatment may help prevent further irreversible 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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