Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems seen in Canada. It is estimated that 7 out of 10 Canadians will suffer from gum disease at some point in their life. Though it often progresses without causing any pain, it can pose a real threat to your overall health.
How does gum disease develop?
The onset of gum disease is a result of plaque and tartar buildup. These bacteria release toxins that attack the gum tissues, compromise bone health and lead to problems such as tooth loss and chronic inflammation. Young patients typically do not show symptoms during the early stages, since the beginning of infection can be painless. However, by the time they reach 30 or 40, symptoms are more visible.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Some common signs of gum issues are
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Red/inflamed gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Pain while chewing
Periodontal disease while irreversible, can be managed. However, a lack of diagnosis and proper treatment can trigger life-threatening situations such as:
1. Heart Disease
Research indicates that gum disease increases a person’s chances of heart attack by 49%. Also, people with poor dental hygiene are three times more susceptible to heart disease. Chronic inflammation is dangerous as it harms healthy cells that are essential for normal function; this explains why gum illness is associated with cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it negatively impacts blood pressure for hypertensive patients, but with proper treatment, there has been a noticeable decrease in blood pressure for some patients.
Your body’s high glucose levels support the growth of harmful bacteria that attack your teeth and gums causing gingivitis. On the other hand, periodontal disease raises your blood sugar levels, which may increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
How does gum disease cause a rise in blood sugar?
The bacteria that affect the gums are carried by the bloodstream and trigger the body to release insulin in order to fight off the bacteria. As gum disease is associated with chronic inflammation, the control of blood sugar levels can be difficult for diabetic patients. Moreover, diabetes can also make the body challenging to overcome infections such as gum illness.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
It is the most common form of dementia in Canada, contributing to almost 60-70% of cases. A neurodegenerative disease, it begins with memory loss but gradually worsens over time. A study observed the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) found in gum disease, in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient, thus linking the two. However, early treatment and prevention can stave off this hazard.
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is a bacterium found in both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis patients. It causes an autoimmune response by causing the secretion of inflammatory proteins that trigger our immune system, contributing to joint inflammation.
Regular visits to the dentist can help diagnose and prevent these illnesses. For periodontal diseases, we may refer you to a specialist.
Also Read: 6 Common Dental Problems And Their Treatments