Periodontal Disease and The Increased Risk for Heart Disease
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is one of the major dental health problems. It can cause several dental health issues, including loss of gum tissue, loss of teeth, and loss of jawbone. Periodontal disease can also cause other health problems, which are not limited to your oral health. For example, it has been shown to cause an increased risk for heart disease. We, at Oregon Periodontics, P.C., are committed to helping you prevent dental health problems, as well as other health issues resulting from poor oral health. Read on to find out more about the connection between gum disease and heart disease.
How Does Periodontal Disease Affect Your Heart?
Several studies show that gum disease, particularly chronic periodontal disease, can contribute to the occurrence of heart disease. However, how exactly does this happen? Well, to understand the connection between the two, it is important first to understand exactly what gum disease is.
Gum disease is a condition that affects the gum tissue and is caused by the bacterial infection of these tissues. These bacteria cause the inflammation of the gum tissue, leading to sores, swelling, redness, and other symptoms of the condition. If left untreated, the bacteria can also spread to other parts of the mouth, particularly the jawbone.
The spreading of these oral bacteria is believed to be one of the reasons behind the increased risk of heart disease. Apart from spreading to the jawbone, scientists believe that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and end up in the heart, where they can cause damage to the tissue.
Aside from damaging the tissues of the heart, when the oral bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can attach to the blood vessels, where they release protein-like toxins. When the body’s immune system responds to these toxins, damage to the blood vessels can occur–which can lead to heart disease in the case of the heart blood vessels. The immune system response can also lead to blood clots, which can trigger a heart attack and weaken the heart.
Inflammation is another way in which periodontal disease can increase the risk of heart disease. This is because the inflammation of the gum tissues can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, thus damaging the heart tissues.
Periodontal Disease and Other Health Problems
Aside from heart disease, gum disease can also cause other health problems in the body. These include:
|Stroke—the clotting of blood caused by the toxins released by oral bacteria in the bloodstream can trigger stroke
|Cancer—people with gum disease are at an increased risk of developing various forms of cancer, including blood cancer, oral cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
|Respiratory disease—the oral bacteria that cause gum disease can also spread to the oral cavity and up to the lungs, cause respiratory problems
|Overall poor health—gum disease, especially the advanced stages of gum disease, can compromise your immune system, making it harder to fight other diseases and infections.
Gum disease on its own is a serious condition, which can have devastating effects on your oral health. However, it might not stop there. The condition can cause an increased risk of heart disease, not to mention vulnerability to other health problems. Therefore, if you are suffering from gum disease, it is important to seek immediate help. Call us, Oregon Periodontics, P.C., at (503) 575-7750 today to learn more about gum disease, its effects on your health, and the available solutions we can offer you.