Did You Know? Gum Disease Affects Your Health - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Did You Know? Gum Disease Affects Your Health

Gum disease ( PERIODONTITS ) results from long term bacterial build-up on the teeth below the gumline. When left untreated, the accumulated build-up of bacteria causes gum inflammation. Deep pockets form between the gum and the tooth root leading to bone destruction and tooth loss. The increased bacterial presence in the mouth enables the bacteria to enter the bloodstream affecting your health .

HEALTH FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE DEVELOPMENT OF GUM DISEASE

SMOKING - Smoking is considered one of the greatest risk factors for periodontal disease. Smoking compromises the immune system response to bacterial build-up. Smokers are at 4.8 times greater risk for bone and tooth loss. The smokers' smile line is altered giving an aged appearance with spongy, rolled gums.

POOR ORAL HEALTH - As food, saliva, and bacteria decompose, a sticky film called plaque forms. The plaque adheres to the tooth surface and hardens into tartar. This causes gum inflammation and pockets in which bacteria can thrive and enter the bloodstream. With the potential loss of teeth from gum disease, there is also the potential for loss of facial bone.

GENETIC SUSCEPTABILITY - Approximately 30% of the adult population has a positive susceptibility for gum disease. Knowledge of susceptibility may be helpful in deciding the appropriate course of treatment. Genetically positive individuals may also be at a higher risk for heart disease.

DIABETES MELLITUS - High blood sugar levels may cause an increase in bacterial build-up in gum pockets. High blood sugar levels may also cause lower levels of oxygen, important in the healing process. Diabetics are at a 3 times greater risk for bone and tissue destruction, which, in turn, may lead to increased need for insulin. A high percentage of insulin dependent diabetics are genetically positive.

HEALTH FACTORS INFLUENCED BY GUM DISEASE

HEART DISEASE - To continue pumping efficiently, your heart needs a continuous, plentiful supply of blood and oxygen, which is delivered from the lungs by the arteries. Chronic inflammation of the gums may release bacteria into the bloodstream causing inflammation of the lining of the arteries. Narrowed or clogged arteries cause damage to the heart muscles. The incidence of heart disease is about 2 times greater in people with periodontal disease.

STROKE - Stroke is a life-threatening event in which the brain's oxygen supply is cut off. It occurs when an artery to the brain bursts or becomes clogged. The release of bacteria into the bloodstream due to periodontal disease may cause the arteries to clog, increasing the risk for stroke. The incidence of stroke is about 3 times greater in people with periodontal disease.

PREMATURE LOW BIRTH WEIGHT BABIES - Periodontal disease is a greater risk factor for premature low birth weight babies than either smoking or alcohol consumption because increased bacterial presence inhibits fetal development. Mother's with periodontal disease increase their risk for premature low birth weight babies by 7.5 times. 18.2% of premature low birth weight babies are due to periodontal disease.

SLOWER WOUND HEALING - Increased bacterial presence in the body weakens the immune system resulting in slower wound healing,

DO YOU HAVE ANY SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF GUM DISEASE?

• BLOOD OR PUS COMING FROM GUMS

• BAD BREATH

• SORE OR RED SWOLLEN GUMS

• LOOSE TEETH

• GUMS PULLING AWAY FROM TEETH

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