Gum (periodontal) disease is a result of oral infection and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround the teeth. If left untreated, the oral infection can spread through the body and lead to serious health problems. In this blog post, Dr. Amy Farmer of Crossroads Dental Cosmetic Dentistry of Longmont discusses four health conditions linked to gum disease.
Numerous studies have linked gum disease to heart disease. Researchers are not exactly sure of why this might be, but many believe it is because the inflammation caused by gum disease causes the arteries to harden. This, in turn, increases the risk for heart disease. Further research has found that gum disease can worsen existing heart conditions.
Researchers have found that inflammation, including the type caused by gum disease, increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Additionally, one recent study found that gum disease may be associated with faster cognitive decline among people with Alzheimer’s disease.
A growing amount of research has found that gum disease increases the risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer and esophageal cancer. Although the causative link has not been unequivocally proven, researchers believe the chronic infection in the gums triggers inflammation throughout the body. This, in turn, can potentially promote the growth of cancer.
According to the American Diabetes Association, advanced stages of gum disease can potentially affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Research shows the connection between diabetes and gum disease is a two-way street. Diabetics are at a higher risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infections.
How to Prevent and Treat Gum Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of adults age 30 and older have some form of gum disease. Perhaps more alarming is the fact that many patients with gum disease are not even aware that they have the disease. This is because many of the symptoms associated with gum disease are painless at first. Routine dental visits and good at-home oral hygiene are essential in preventing and managing the condition.
To schedule a dental checkup or treatment for gum disease, please contact Dr. Amy Farmer. The esteemed dentist offers a range of dental services and treatments aimed at preventing and treating gum disease. Schedule your appointment today by calling (303) 776-1480.