Periodontal disease — or gum disease — is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss in San Antonio. But it’s not just dangerous to your smile. It also turns out that active oral infection associated with periodontitis can raise your chances of other medical complications.
Heart Attack and Stroke
They say that your mouth is the gateway to your entire body. If you have gum disease, you’re also at an elevated risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. The reason for that is because oral bacteria can spread directly into your bloodstream, via infected tissues inside your mouth.
There’s a cyclic relationship between your blood sugar levels and gum infection. Numerous studies have shown that someone with diabetes who also has untreated gum disease will have an extremely challenging time stabilizing their blood glucose levels. The more aggressive the periodontitis becomes, the more unstable the blood sugar level tends to be.
But diabetics with good oral hygiene tend to see more stable readings. Experts recommend treating the two conditions jointly, so as to stabilize both of them at the same time (rather than only focusing on one or the other.) Be sure to let Dr. Vandeberg know what your most recent glucose reading was at the time of your appointment.
People with active oral infections are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia. Why? Because oral bacteria can simply be inhaled into the respiratory tract during normal daily activities. If you’re already immunocompromised or at-risk for lung disease, you could be putting yourself at additional risks with unhealthy gums.
Over the past year, we’ve also seen that aggressive periodontal disease equates to a higher chance of requiring a hospital ventilator/respirator during COVID-19 infection.
Reproductive Health Concerns
Men and women alike can be affected by periodontal disease. It turns out that active gum disease can make it more difficult for couples to conceive. Gum treatments can help by reducing time to conceive by at least a few months.
Women with periodontal disease are at a statistically higher risk of pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, and stillbirth. Similarly, men with gum disease may struggle with erectile dysfunction until their oral infection is stabilized.
How to Know if You Have Gum Disease
If your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss, you could have gum disease. Symptoms of moderate periodontal disease often include warning signs like:
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Tooth mobility
- Spaces between teeth
Schedule a Periodontal Evaluation
Has it been longer than six months since you’ve seen a dentist? When you contact San Antonio Orthodontics, be sure to request a periodontal assessment during your next exam. Dr. Vandeberg will thoroughly evaluate your soft tissues and bone levels to determine if any gum infections are present. We’ll guide you through the appropriate channels to establish a healthy smile that’s beneficial to your teeth and overall body!
Contact our San Antonio dental office today to request your next appointment.