Welcome back to the world of gum disease! WOW! That certainly is not a place that I want to be or even to visit! Anyway, I am glad you came back for the next installment on the topic of gambling with gum disease. I know this isn’t the more pleasant of topics, but, for your overall general health, it is a vital one. In previous installments, we have discussed how people have discovered they have gum disease even after they had taken what they thought at the time was good care of their teeth; we have talked about how your oral tissues are under constant attack from the foods you eat and the beverages you eat and we talked about how the body’s immune system responds inappropriately to inflammation caused by these attacks. We have also talked about some other things that increase your opportunity of developing gum disease, some of which you can’t even control. Today, we’re going to go “beyond the gums” and take a look at some things that can become spin-off from that inflammation and ensuing gum disease.
The Risk Doesn’t End in Your Mouth
If you could isolate the inflammation that causes gum disease to just your mouth, you might not fare too badly. Unfortunately, this inflammation and all of the associated bacteria can not only damage bone and tissues in your mouth that support your teeth, but it can also circulate throughout your body via the bloodstream and can invade every part of your body and every organ contained therein. The ugly truth is that the potential for serious health conditions to develop over time is huge!
Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
Ongoing studies are finding that there is an association between periodontal disease and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. They have not yet been able to actually prove a cause-and-effect type of relationship but as recently as April of this year some researchers published study results in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology is eye-opening to say the least. They found among the over 15, 000 study participants that those having periodontal disease that ranged from bleeding gums to tooth loss were more likely to have cardiovascular risk factors like increased glucose (blood sugar) levels, blood pressure, LDL (the bad cholesterol) and obesity.
Cancer Risks Increase
The increased cancer risk is also well documented in on-going research. One such study, done in 2008, found that among their 48,000 male participants, who were aged 40 to 75 years, those who had periodontal disease were at a higher risk for the development of cancers like lung, kidney, pancreatic and blood cancers.
Untreated periodontal disease is strongly suspected to play a huge role in the development of these diseases as well as cognitive decline in older adults, increased risk of respiratory problems like pneumonia, controlling blood sugars and even increased risk of developing nutritional deficiencies due to loss of teeth and the ensuing inability to chew foods properly. These are all serious medical issues that can affect the length and quality of your life as you age. The identification and treatment of inflammation and periodontal disease is vital to your overall good general health. Your Periodontist in Long Island can help. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit on the web at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel. Oh and…come on back next week and we will talk about some ways to prevent periodontal disease.