January 8, 2023
Chattanooga periodontics dental implants

Medically Reviewed By: Elizabeth Felts Randall, DMD, MS

Model resting her face on her hands chattanooga periodontics dental implants

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of American adults aged 30 and over show signs of early-stage or severe gum disease. Studies show a link between gum disease and other medical conditions and that controlling gum disease can minimize health risks. Chattanooga Periodontics & Dental Implants serves the Dalton, Georgia, community and explains how gum disease can affect your overall health.

How Harmful Is Gum Disease to Your Overall Health?

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that can contribute to or worsen systemic diseases, which affect the entire body. We will review four medical conditions that are associated with gum disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

Gum disease and type 2 diabetes are interrelated. According to a July 2013 article published by The Journal of the American Dental Association, research shows that people with severe gum disease experience these diabetes-related concerns:

  • Higher long-term blood glucose levels
  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Difficulty controlling type 2 diabetes
  • Increased risk of kidney and eye harm, heart attack, and stroke if they have diabetes

Also, diabetes can reduce saliva flow and increase glucose in saliva. Both factors feed harmful bacteria in your mouth and increase plaque that can build up, harden, and promote gum disease.

Respiratory Illness

Chronic periodontal disease is inflammatory and infectious. Periodontal bacteria are potential respiratory pathogens that, if inhaled, can lead to the following concerns:

  • Pulmonary (lung) infection
  • Connective tissue destruction
  • Respiratory diseases, including pneumonia

Heart Disease

Studies show gum disease can increase the risk of developing or worsening heart disease. Contributing factors include:

  • Chronic inflammation in the body leads to plaque buildup, narrowing, and blockage in the arteries.
  • Inflammation from gum disease is associated with increased inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, a predictor of future cardiovascular events.
  • Bacterial infection from gum disease can enter your bloodstream and affect heart valves.

Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, recent studies show stronger connections between gum disease and deteriorating brain function, including Alzheimer’s disease. The studies reported the following:

  • The brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients contains bacteria that destroy gum tissue.
  • Bacterial proteins from gum disease can potentially contribute to the formation of brain lesions.
  • Gum disease enzymes attach to and alter the structure of a type of protein in the brain’s nerve cells. The altered protein then reattaches to the brain’s nerve cells and ultimately kills them.

Protect Your Health with Gum Disease Prevention and Treatment

Protecting your oral health supports your overall well-being. Controlling or preventing gum disease is essential to heart, lung, and brain health and controlling other systemic diseases, such as diabetes. Chattanooga Periodontics offers annual comprehensive evaluations to detect gum disease for Dalton, Georgia residents. If you have gum disease, Dr. Randall or Dr. Felts will customize a treatment plan to resolve it. Visit our website for more information on gum disease and gum disease treatment.