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Gum Disease and General Health

Problems that poor dental health could cause include:
Diabetes
Heart Disease
Strokes
Respiratory (lung) disease.
Giving birth to a premature or low-birth-weight baby
Kidneys
Researchers suggest a connection between gum infections and kidney disease, where edentulous or toothless adults, may be more likely to have chronic kidney disease than dentate adults. Tooth loss was found to be significantly associated with Chronic Kidney Disease, indicating that oral care may play a role in reducing the prevalence of chronic kidney disease
Both periodontal disease and chronic kidney disease are considered inflammatory conditions, and previous research has suggested that inflammation may be the common link between these diseases.
Diabetes
People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to have gum disease than people without diabetes, which significantly increases the risk of tooth loss. This is probably because diabetics are more likely to get infections in general. People whose diabetes is not under control, are especially at risk.
If you do have diabetes it is important that any gum disease is diagnosed, because it can increase your blood sugar. This would put you at risk of other diabetic complications. Also, if you are diabetic, you may find that you heal more slowly.
Lungs
More cases of bacterial pneumonia are taking place each year.
Bacterial pneumonia in adults is the result of aspiration of oropharyngeal bacteria into the lower respiratory tract and the persons defenses fail to eliminate the contaminating bacteria, which multiply in the lung and cause infection. Today, we know that pneumonia and lung abscesses, can be the result of infection by bacteria. Dental plaque would seem to be a logical source of these bacteria, especially in patients with periodontal disease. Poor oral hygiene and periodontal disease may promote this.

Heart
People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease or a stroke than people without gum disease. When people have gum disease, bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream. The bacteria produce a protein, which can cause clots in your blood. Blood clots reduce normal blood flow, so that the heart and brain does not get all the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Pregnant women
Pregnant women who have gum disease may be over three times more likely to have a baby that is premature as well as having low birth weight. There is a 1 in 4 chance that a pregnant woman with gum disease will give birth before 35 weeks.
It seems that gum disease raises the levels of the chemicals that bring on labour. Research also suggests that women whose gum disease gets worse during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby.
Having gum disease treated properly during pregnancy can reduce the risk of a premature birth.
Joints
Retention of teeth into advanced age makes tooth decay and gum disease lifelong concerns. These, are two sources whereby oral bacteria access the bloodstream.
Oral organisms have been linked to infections of the endocardium, meninges, mediastinum, vertebrae, hepatobiliary system, and prosthetic joints.
People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are eight times more likely to have gum disease than people without this disease. Inflammation may be the common factor between the two. Making matters worse: people with RA can have trouble brushing and flossing because of damage to finger joints. The good news is that treating existing gum inflammation and infection can also reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Brain
Studies show that people with fewer teeth had a higher risk of experiencing memory loss or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. This may be because the gum infections that can cause tooth loss may release chemicals that increase the brain inflammation, which leads to earlier memory loss.
Also, people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have a stroke than people without gum disease. When people have gum disease, bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream. The bacteria produce a protein, which can cause clots in your blood. Blood clots reduce normal blood flow, so that the brain does not get all the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If the blood flow is badly affected this could lead to a stroke.

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