Periodontal Disease & Systemic Diseases

If you have periodontal disease, a serious inflammation of the gums, you're not just hurting your mouth. The Mayo Clinic calls the mouth the "window to your overall health." What they mean is that the diseases of the mouth can both cause and be the first signs of systemic diseases--an inflammation that effects more than one site in the body.

  1. Bacteria

    • The reason why your mouth and the rest of your body is so connected comes back to bacteria. The mouth naturally incubates a lot of bacteria. Normally, the mouth's bacterial growths are contained to the surfaces of your teeth, tongue and gums, but mouth borne bacterial growths can run amok in your body when you contract gum disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Pulmonary

    • This bacteria can be aspirated into your lungs, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The result can include an infection of the lungs, such as an abscess or pus-filled pocket, as well as pneumonia.

    Heart

    • According to the National Institutes of Health, significant research has been conducted on the role between the heart and the mouth. Just as bacteria from the mouth can enter the lungs and affect how we breathe, so can it be transported to the heart by way of the bloodstream. Gum disease has been connected to heart disease, coronary artery disease and stroke.

    Diabetes

    • If you have gum disease, you may have a hard time controlling your blood sugar, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. A link has been made between gum disease and elevated blood sugar, which can make management of existing problems like diabetes more difficult.

    Pregnancy

    • Studies have implicated periodontal disease as the reason a woman may deliver a baby prematurely or a very small baby, according to the National Institutes of Health. It's believed that bacteria in the mouth can damage the fetus--not just the mother carrying the child.

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References

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