About half of the general population of the United States has some significant, undiagnosed level of gum disease. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s no big deal. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can weaken the structures supporting your teeth and even cause tooth loss. It has also been linked to several other health issues that aren’t just in your mouth. Let’s look at 4 problems unexpected health problems that can occur when you don’t get gum disease therapy in San Antonio in time.
1. Heart Disease
Cardiovascular issues and gum disease have more in common than shared risk factors like smoking and frequent drinking. The most common theory between the connection explains that the bacteria characteristic of periodontal disease in San Antonio attacks your gum tissue and leaves holes between the gums and teeth. Bacteria may then travel through the holes into your bloodstream, spreading infection and inflammation throughout the body, including the heart.
One wouldn’t normally associate oral health with neurological problems, but the two appear to be linked through gum disease. Studies have proven that tooth loss and cognitive decline are related. This may be due to the fact that as someone’s mental abilities decline, they may have trouble remembering to brush and floss, increasing their risk for periodontal disease. Another experiment has shown that patients with Alzheimer’s have the same bacteria in their brain tissue that is often found in the gums of people with periodontal disease.
3. Increased Risk of Cancer
A 2008 study claimed that there is a small yet significant link between periodontal disease and overall cancer risk. Another, more recent, study found a stronger link between gum disease and pancreatic cancer. This connection may be explained by a certain enzyme produced by a type of bacteria common in gum disease also appears frequently in cancers of the gastrointestinal system.
4. Lung Problems
Because the mouth and lungs are directly connected, this link is not as much of a surprise as the others. However, it is still dangerous. Again, a chain reaction of inflammation may be to blame. Bacteria from gum disease may also be inhaled straight into the lungs. Research has demonstrated a strong link between gum disease and lung cancer.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Although it sounds scary, gum disease is pretty easy to keep at bay. Just follow these steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once a day
- Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
- Limit sugary foods and beverages
- Visit your dentist in San Antonio once every six months for a cleaning and checkup
Taking good care of your dental hygiene can prevent not only cavities, but so many other health issues as well.
About the Author
Dr. Christopher Holland earned his Doctor of Dental surgery degree at the prestigious University of Texas Health Science Center in 1990. He has been recognized as one of America’s Best Dentists by the National Consumer Advisory Board and one of America’s Top Dentists by the Consumer Research Council of America. To learn more about how to prevent gum disease, contact Dr. Holland at (210)-804-1558.