12 Nov 2013
November 12, 2013

Gum Disease- and your Overall Health

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gum disease diagram

Everyone has heard of gum disease (or gingivitis), and many people are even familiar with periodontal disease, which happens when gum disease progresses to affect the bone surrounding the teeth. What most people don’t know, however, is the effect periodontal disease can have on your overall health.

Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is an infection of the tissues and structures that support teeth (gingival, bone, etc.). Periodontitis is characterized by gingival inflammation (swelling) and bleeding, build-up of excess calculus (tartar), gum recession and bone loss, tooth mobility and even tooth loss. The chronic inflammation caused by periodontal disease has been associated with many systemic conditions including coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes mellitus, COPD, low birthweight and preterm birth (among mothers with periodontal disease), and possibly others such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. While in most cases definitive causality hasn’t been noted, there is a greater risk of developing these systemic conditions when periodontitis is present. In the case of diabetes, the presence of diabetes mellitus has actually been associated with a greater risk of periodontal disease, while periodontitis has been associated with worse control of diabetes and blood sugar.

All of this boils down to simply this – if the risk of bone loss and even losing your teeth isn’t enough to encourage you to floss, do it for your overall health! Dr. James Austin & Associates take gum disease seriously and so should you. If you would like to find out more about how chronic inflamation can effect your overall health please give us a call at 425 643 5778 or check out our facebook page at www.familydentalcareofbellevue.com/.

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