Gum disease (periodontitis) is the number one cause of tooth loss among adults. This is why dentists always stress the importance of regular checkups and cleanings. However, there are many other problems associated with gum disease. Gum disease is a state of chronic inflammation, and the bacteria and inflammatory molecules travel through the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and infection in in the heart, kidneys, brain, etc.
In the heart, increases your risk of serious cardiovascular complications by 2-3 times. That means two to three times the risk of having a heart attack or stroke! The risk increases even more when high cholesterol is present.
Gum disease also has a complex, two-way relationship with diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, and gum disease worsens diabetes. The risk of severe complications such as kidney failure is increased by 3 times when gum disease is present!
In the brain, gum disease increases risk for Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Research has even shown a link between gum disease and increased cancer risk, especially for lung cancer and colorectal cancer.
Signs of gum disease
- swollen, red, or tender gums
- bleeding when your brush or floss
- bad breath
- buildup of dark calcification along the gum line
- loose teeth or teeth that are moving apart
- changes in the way your partial denture fits
The best way to get screened and treated for gum disease starts with a comprehensive exam at your dentist!