Castle Lodge Guesthouse

Join us. You can be with warm
welcoming hospitality

How Gum Disease Affects Your Overall Health

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious infection that destroys the tissue and bone around your teeth. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, but it can also affect your overall health by allowing bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream and cause health conditions such as stroke, heart attack or diabetes. Gum disease can even shorten your life. The good news is that it’s preventable and treatable. Whether you have the early stage, gingivitis, or the more advanced stage, periodontitis, your dental team can eliminate bacteria and restore the tissue and bone that support your teeth.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of Gum disease and can be reversed with good oral hygiene, regular dental cleanings, and changes in your lifestyle to avoid smoking or certain medications that increase your risk. Persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth are also signs that you may have gum disease. Your dental professional will check your mouth for signs of gum disease and take x-rays to see if you have bone loss as a result of gum disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include red and swollen gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. You may also notice that your gums seem to be pulling away from your teeth, leaving pockets where plaque and bacteria hide. Gum disease can also cause loose or missing teeth, and it can lead to a change in the way your jaw fits together when you open your mouth.

If you have gum disease, your immune system reacts to the bacteria by releasing toxins that cause inflammation and destroying the bone and tissues that hold your teeth in place. As the tissue and bone are destroyed, your teeth become more crooked, and you may develop bite problems that can make eating difficult. Your jaw can also shift or loosen over time, which can put you at risk for other health issues such as arthritis and a heart attack.

Research suggests that the same bacteria found in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory tract diseases like pneumonia or rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, researchers have discovered a link between periodontitis and certain cancers, diabetes, low birth rates, and a host of other health problems.

The type of treatment you receive depends on the extent of your gum disease, how well you’ve responded to previous treatments and other factors. It can range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery that repairs tissue and bone. Your dental professional can help you decide what is the best option for you.