Poor oral health is usually linked with bad breath, and rightfully so. But as it turns out, keeping your gums healthy helps lower your risk for many diseases, including the following:
Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disorder where the gums become inflamed and the immune system starts to attack its own tissues. This is precisely what causes the pain that many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). There have been several studies done that show there is a link between RA and periodontal disease, but now there is some evidence that there may be a direct causation.
The European Congress of Rheumatology did a study on 636 patients with varying levels of teeth lost from gum disease. They found that the participants with 10 or fewer teeth were 8 times more likely to have arthritis than those who retained all of their original teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).
While more circumstantial, there is evidence to show that there is a strong link between good oral and heart health. Because periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, patients may be at a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is hardening of arteries due to inflammation. Having healthy gums reduces your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Your mouth and lungs are both a part of respiratory system, so it is possible for the bacteria in the mouth to travel to the lungs.
Most types of bacteria in your mouth are benign and do nothing more than aid in digesting food particles in the mouth. However pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria can enter the mouth and, with poor oral care, may find a prime environment to thrive before spreading from the mouth into the lungs where they can cause health problems. The good news is that keeping your mouth clean with regular brushing and flossing lessens their impact, and helps keep the rest of you healthier, too!
Up to 70% of women develop gingivitis during their pregnancy, creatively referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Hormone levels change during the pregnancy which cause an inflammatory response that then can increase the risk of developing periodontal diseases.
Studies have shown a strong link of periodontal disease with preterm labor. In a normal pregnancy, a balance of inflammatory proteins is counterbalanced by anti-inflammatory proteins. However, when a pregnant woman has gum disease, the high levels of inflammation protein can induce preterm labor or other complications, putting the health of both the mother and the developing baby at risk.
A U.S. study found that people with severe gum disease are not only at risk of losing teeth, but also at a greater risk for cancer. The study found that those with healthy gums had a 24% less chance of having any kind of cancer, and a 50% less likelihood of developing lung cancer.
Fortunately, gum disease is highly preventable! For more information on how a healthy mouth makes for a healthy body or to make an appointment, call our office today!