How Gum Disease Affects your Health

The Mouth-Body Connection and Gum Disease

Your mouth is connected to all the organs and systems in your body. That’s because your body is made of interdependent systems that rely on one another for survival. For example, your cardiopulmonary system pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body.

What happens in one part of the body affects the whole body. This is important to your oral health because “What goes on in your mouth can affect the rest of your body.” Dentists refer to this phenomenon as the mouth-body connection.

The mouth-body connection is really important when we talk about gum disease and how it affects your health.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that can wreak havoc on your smile. The bacteria that cause gum disease feed on the plaque and tartar in your mouth. The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss every day and visit Dr. Connelly for regular checkups.

Almost 65 million Americans suffer from gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease will cause serious pain, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Over time, pockets of infection will develop around the base of the teeth. Gum disease also causes severely bad breath. As the disease progresses, the patient’s teeth will come loose and shift around. Eventually, they’ll begin to fall out.

Fortunately, Dr. Connelly features effective treatments for all stages of gum disease.

How Gum Disease Affects the Rest of Your Body

Gum disease causes the blood vessels in your mouth to swell. This infection can spread to other parts of your body, putting you at risk for a number of dangerous medical conditions. Research has established links between gum disease and the following medical issues:

  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks and heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premature childbirth
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

How the Rest of Your Body is Linked to Your Oral Health

Any medical condition that weakens you or suppresses your immune system will make it easier for gum disease and other infections to attack your smile. Diabetes and obesity have been shown to make patients more susceptible to gum disease. Another example of a medical condition that can hurt you smile is acid reflux, which can damage the enamel on your teeth.

Many prescribed medications cause dry mouth. This can affect your oral health because it interferes with your body’s natural ability to fight off bacteria. There are also types of heart disease medication that can cause the patient’s gums to swell, making them more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

Healthy Smiles in St. Johns, MI

As you can see, taking good care of your smile enhances the overall health of your body. Give us a call to schedule your next checkup with Dr. Connelly at St. Johns Dental Care today.


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