Gum Disease and Health

Gum Disease and Health

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Dec 17 2008, 02:22 AM

Did you doctor ever recommend a dental cleaning to help with you high blood pressure or diabetes? Probably not.

The connection between high blood pressure or diabetes and gum (periodontal) disease is only now coming to light. Recent studies have been awakening an interest in both the medical and dental professions for helping patients with diabetes, atherosclerosis, lung and kidney disease.  The link seems to be between the bacterial infection present in untreated gum disease and the blood stream.  When these bacterial irritate the blood vessels in the mouth, an inflammatory process is established which can spread through the body.  The bacteria leak into the bloodstream and establish colonies in the blood vessel of the heart.  The body tries to protect itself and thickens the walls of these arteries, called hardening.

The same infection can lodge in the kidneys and the lungs causing abscesses. A recent Lancet article linked gum disease to a “small but significant” risk for oral cancer, pancreatic, kidney and blood cancers in men.

Observational studies by the American Academy of Family Physicians found a positive connection between pre-term birth and periodontal disease.

What we know – When you have regular periodontal care you can expect:

  • Lower blood pressure, and less medication needed
  • Diabetic blood sugar levels easier to control with less or no medication
  • Less risk for stroke and Alzheimer’s
  • Fewer heart attacks.

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