What Happens in Your Mouth Affects Your Whole Body
The health of your mouth is strongly linked to the health of your entire body. Conditions originating in your mouth can spread to other organs. Your mouth is a gateway to your body, and safeguarding it will improve your overall well-being.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a dangerous infection that attacks your gums. In addition to devasting your smile, periodontal disease also contributes to several harmful medical conditions.
This occurs because gum disease causes the patient’s arteries to become inflamed, allowing bacteria to spread throughout the body. That’s why treating your gum disease is extremely beneficial to your overall health.
Here are some of the medical complications that can be triggered by gum disease:
People who have diabetes are more susceptible to developing infections. But it’s not widely known that periodontal disease is often a common complication of diabetes. This is especially true when diabetes isn’t under proper control.
Reasons for the connection between these two conditions include:
- Increased blood sugar — Moderate and severe periodontal disease cause sugar levels in the body to increase, leading to high blood sugar. Diabetics with periodontal disease may have greater difficulty keeping their blood sugar levels under control. Also, higher sugar levels found in the mouth of diabetics provide food for the very bacteria that worsen periodontal infections.
- Blood vessel thickening — Thickening of the blood vessels often means that harmful waste is left in the mouth and this can weaken the resistance of gum tissue.
Fortunately, even non-surgical treatments for periodontal disease have been shown to lower the patient’s glycated hemoglobin HbA1c count, which tells us the patient’s average level of blood sugar over the previous two to three months. This will reduce your risk of experiencing complications with diabetes.
Strokes & Heart Disease
People who have gum disease are more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. Oral infections also increase your likelihood of suffering from a stroke.
These conditions may occur because:
- Oral bacteria affect the heart — Some strains of periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attach to the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries. This attachment can contribute to clot formation, leading to grave danger.
- Inflammation — Periodontal disease causes inflammation of the gum tissue, elevating the white blood cell count and C-reactive protein levels. Higher levels of C-reactive proteins are linked to heart disease.
- Infectious susceptibility — If you have high levels of oral bacteria, you may have a weaker immune system and an inadequate inflammatory response. This can contribute to the onset of certain forms of heart disease.
If you’re pregnant or you may become pregnant, it’s especially important to make sure your health is in top condition. Periodontal disease doesn’t just put your health at risk — you’re risking your baby’s health as well.
Periodontal disease can affect your pregnancy in the following ways:
- Prostaglandin — Periodontal disease may contribute to elevated levels of prostaglandin in expectant mothers. This labor-inducing compound is dangerous because it can lead to premature births and low birth weight.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) — In addition to impacting the health of your heart, CRPs can also affect your pregnancy. Two hazardous conditions associated with increased CRPs during pregnancy are premature birth and preeclampsia, which results in high blood pressure and damage to major organs such as the liver and kidneys.
The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can destroy your gum tissue. Then they’ll move on to damage your bone tissue as well. When coupled with osteoporosis, your rate of bone loss may be greatly accelerated.
- Estrogen deficiency — A lack of estrogen, common in women going through menopause, can accelerate the rate of attachment loss of fibers and tissues that keep your teeth stable.
- Low mineral bone density — Inflammation from periodontal disease can make weakened bones more likely to break down. This means that in people who have osteoporosis, periodontitis quickens the effects of the disease.
Periodontal disease can contribute to and worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. Bacterial respiratory infections generally develop when you inhale fine droplets into your lungs, and the bacteria from periodontal disease can spread into your body. This results in serious complications:
- Spreading bacterial — Oral bacteria can easily end up in your lower respiratory tract. From there, it can colonize in your lungs and cause pneumonia or exacerbate serious conditions like COPD.
- Low immunity — People who often experience respiratory problems are more likely to have low immunity. Low immunity can also contribute to the progression of periodontal disease.
- Inflammation — Inflammation of the oral tissue can spread to inflammation of the lung lining, limiting the amount of air that can pass to and from your lungs.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the bacteria from periodontal disease spread to other areas of your body, you can develop additional complications. The bacteria spread can lead to stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, among other issues. Without treatment, periodontal disease can wreak havoc on your body and cause serious health complications.
Yes, bacteria from periodontal disease can spread to other parts of your body and cause complications. In addition to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, you can develop respiratory infections such as COPD or pneumonia. These bacteria can also impact pregnancy and lead to premature birth.
Yes, periodontal disease can lead to stomach issues in more ways than one. With advanced periodontal disease, your ability to chew properly may be affected and lead to difficulty digesting. Gum infections can also lead to the development of ulcers in the digestive tract, potentially leading to stomach cancer.