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The effects of gum disease on your overall health

Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen and infected. Mild gum disease or gingivitis is reversible and can be treated. Without treatment, it can develop into periodontitis, which is untreatable.

Most people will suffer from some form of gum disease in their adult life. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK. Gingivitis is caused by the build-up of plaque on and around the teeth. Gum disease is entirely preventable. By spending a little time each day on keeping your oral health routine up and your mouth clean.

As well as the effects that it can have on your teeth and oral health, gum disease has been linked to causing or increasing your chance of developing other health complications.

Breast Cancer

Recent research has discovered that women who suffer from gum disease may be up to three times more likely to develop breast cancer.

Researchers believe the link could support the theory that breast cancer could be triggered as the result of a systemic inflammation which originates in the infected gums. They also suggest that bacteria from the mouth may enter the circulatory system through the gums which then may affect breast tissue.

Alzheimer’s disease

Research has suggested that suffering from periodontitis can significantly increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The research suggests that bacteria from the gums can enter the bloodstream through everyday activities such as eating, chewing and tooth brushing. The bacteria can then enter other parts of the body, including the brain.

Once the bacteria reach the brain, they may trigger an immune system response, killing brain cells. This immune response could be one mechanism that leads to changes in the brain, which is typical in Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart disease

People with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease.  That figure increases for those individuals with high cholesterol as well.

As with Alzheimer’s disease, scientists believe the increased chance of developing it from suffering with periodontitis is due to the same bacteria.

Gum disease has also been linked to a variety of other health problems such as; heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only one in six people realise that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only one in three is aware of the heart disease link.”

Gum disease is a serious condition but if caught early enough, can be managed and treated effectively. In a routine dental check-up, your dentist will check the health of your gums and advise you on any necessary treatment.

For more information on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, click here or contact Oak Mount Dental Practice on 

Posted by Oak Mount Dental Practice

Website last updated: June 2022

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