Periodontal disease is a serious oral health concern affecting millions of people. At our Manhattan Beach Dentist office, we have always educated our patients about the harmful effects of periodontal disease on dental health. But recent research has also established a strong connection between periodontal disease and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.
It has been shown that individuals with pre-existing diabetic conditions are likely to be more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease increases blood sugar levels, making it a challenge to control the amount of glucose in the blood. This factor alone can increase the risk of serious diabetic complications.
Several theories exist which connect heart disease and periodontitis. One theory is that oral bacteria present with periodontal disease can attach themselves to coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This in turn contributes to the formation of blood clots and a narrowing of the coronary arteries.
Another theory suggests that inflammation caused by periodontal disease causes an increased build-up of arterial plaque. This can inflame the arteries and worsen pre-existing heart conditions. It has been suggested that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria are at increased risk of developing heart disease.
Women in general are more prone to developing periodontal disease because of hormonal fluctuations occurring continuously as they go through life and the aging process. Research indicates that pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are at greater risk of delivering underweight, premature babies.
Oral bacteria associated with gum disease have been shown to be a potential threat to sufferers of emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). These bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and create bacterial infections. Repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis.
As you can see, periodontal disease can create significant and serious concerns far beyond oral health alone. The good news is that periodontal disease is a highly preventable and treatable disease if caught immediately. Be sure to protect your oral and overall general health by contacting our Manhattan Beach Dentist office to schedule regular dental examinations and cleanings.