Gum disease and its impact on general health

9th May 2024 | Category: Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is often underestimated in its severity and implications. While it may start as simple inflammation or bleeding gums, its consequences can extend far beyond the oral cavity, affecting overall health. At our dental practice in Kidlington, we have witnessed firsthand the profound impact untreated gum disease can have on individuals. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the connection between gum disease and general health, shedding light on why maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for overall wellbeing.

Understanding gum disease

, Gum disease and its impact on general health

Gum disease begins with the accumulation of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, on the teeth and gums. When not removed through proper oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into tartar, leading to irritation, inflammation, and ultimately infection of the gums. This early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis and is characterised by symptoms such as swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, and bad breath.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease. Periodontitis involves the destruction of the tissues and bone supporting the teeth, leading to tooth loss and other complications.

Download our ‘Preventative Care Tips’ guide here

Symptoms of gum disease

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Bleeding after brushing
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bright red or purplish gums
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together

The link between gum disease and general health

, Gum disease and its impact on general health

While the consequences of gum disease are evident in the mouth, its effects can extend throughout the body, impacting overall health in various ways.

Cardiovascular health – research suggests a strong association between gum disease and cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries. The inflammation caused by gum disease may contribute to the development of these cardiovascular problems, potentially increasing the risk of heart attacks and other cardiac issues.

Diabetes management – individuals with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. Poorly controlled diabetes can worsen gum disease, while untreated gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels, leading to a vicious cycle of worsening health outcomes.

Respiratory health – the bacteria associated with gum disease can be aspirated into the lungs, potentially contributing to respiratory infections such as pneumonia. This is particularly concerning for individuals with compromised immune systems or underlying respiratory conditions.

Pregnancy complications – pregnant women with gum disease may be at higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including premature birth and low birth weight. The inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and affect the developing foetus, highlighting the importance of maintaining good oral health during pregnancy.

Cognitive function – emerging research suggests a potential link between gum disease and cognitive decline, including conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The University of Southampton completed a study which also supported this notion. While more studies are needed to fully understand this relationship, the inflammatory processes associated with gum disease may play a role in neurological health.

Preventing gum disease

, Gum disease and its impact on general health
The best way to prevent gum disease is to make sure plaque is removed effectively. This means you need a thorough home care routine with plenty of brushing and flossing, and you should see our hygienist so your teeth can be properly ‘scaled and polished’. You also need to visit us regularly so any changes can be detected before they worsen. Other ways you can reduce your risk of developing the disease include giving up smoking, reducing stress and eating a well-balanced diet.

For those already experiencing gum disease, professional intervention may be necessary to halt its progression and restore oral health. This may involve deep cleaning procedures. We offer direct access hygienist appointments as well as Guided Biofilm Therapy as you deserve the best oral care. Call us at 01865 951861 to book your appointment.

As highlighted above, gum disease is more than just a dental issue, it’s a systemic health concern with far-reaching implications. By understanding the connection between gum disease and general health, we can underscore the importance of prioritising oral hygiene and seeking prompt dental care. As dentists, our goal is not only to help our patients achieve healthy smiles but also to safeguard their overall wellbeing through preventative education and proactive treatment. Remember, a healthy mouth contributes to a healthier you.

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140 Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1DZ
01865 951861 info@thewhitebridgeclinic.co.uk
Opening Hours
Day
Hours
Monday
9:00am – 5.30pm
Tuesday
9:00am – 6.30pm
Wednesday
9:00am -5.30pm
Thursday
9:00am – 5.30pm
Friday
9:00am – 4.30pm
Saturday
9:00am – 4.30pm

Fast train links into London, on site parking & disabled access

Opening Hours
Day
Hours
Monday
9:00am – 5.30pm
Tuesday
9:00am – 6.30pm
Wednesday
9:00am -5.30pm
Thursday
9:00am – 5.30pm
Friday
9:00am – 4.30pm
Saturday
9:00am – 4.30pm

Fast train links into London, on site parking & disabled access

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