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How Gum Disease Can Negatively Impact Your Overall Health

Almost half of American adults aged 30 and over suffer from gum disease. But aside from causing you to lose your teeth, gum disease may also tell you something about your risk for several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. 

So, how can inflammation in your mouth be connected to what happens in other parts of your body? Although scientists have found a link between gum disease and other health problems, they don’t know whether gum disease causes these issues or is simply a symptom of a bigger problem. 

However, they are connected — and having bleeding gums and localized inflammation can harm your overall health. At Brightleaf Dental, we want you to be aware of how your dental health impacts the rest of your body, so we’re sharing some of the ailments associated with gum disease and providing tips on what you can do to prevent complications.

Gum disease could be an early warning sign for type 2 diabetes 

Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed for years because there aren’t any obvious symptoms during the early stages of the disease. 

However, one study found that patients suffering from gum disease had higher HbA1c values (average blood sugar levels over a 3-month period) when compared with a control group comprised of participants with healthy gums. 

These findings could enable patients who suffer from gum disease to take preventive measures against diabetes and get tested more often.

It’s a risk factor for heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks 

Even though both heart disease and gum disease have some overlapping risk factors, researchers believe that gum disease can worsen your heart health on its own.

Patients with gum disease are three times more likely to suffer from heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Researchers believe this is because both gum disease and plaque buildup in your arteries are triggered by inflammation, and having two sources of chronic, low-grade inflammation can overwhelm your body.

It can predict lower cognitive performance 

A study suggests that tooth loss and gum disease are good predictors for lower cognitive performance in older men. 

Researchers also found that Porphyromonas gingivalis, one type of bacteria responsible for gum disease, is present in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers, and boosts the production of beta-amyloid, a protein fragment known for destroying brain synapses. 

Learn more about gum disease 

Lowering your sugar intake and brushing more often may help prevent plaque buildup. However, if you already have gum disease, these steps aren’t enough to prevent tooth loss.

If you’re concerned about the health of your gums, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Santa Monica, California. We can help you prevent or treat gum disease. 

Dr. Nazila Satvat

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