Gum disease affects millions of people around the world and can cause irreversible damage if left untreated. But did you know that it can also increase your risk for other serious health conditions? Here’s what you need to know about the link between gum disease and your overall health.
Studies have shown that moderate or severe gum disease is significantly associated with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that people who suffered from chronic gum disease for ten years or more had a 70 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s compared to those without the disease. While it’s not entirely clear why this relationship exists, it’s believed that inflammation caused by gum disease may play a role.
Gum disease has been linked to an almost 30 percent higher risk of a first heart attack in people aged over 60. This link persists even after adjusting for other known risk factors such as diabetes, asthma, smoking status, education, and marriage. Chronic gum disease causes systemic inflammation that can damage the lining of arteries, contributing to the build-up of plaques.
Type 2 Diabetes
Gum disease is a known complication of type 2 diabetes, and chronic gum disease increases the risk of developing the disease. Inflammation caused by both conditions is likely to be a factor in the link between them. Improving gum health can help improve blood sugar control in diabetic patients.
Gum disease has been linked to a greater risk of developing many types of cancer, including esophageal and stomach cancer. Inflammation may be a factor in the progression of both gum disease and tumor growth.
Preventing Gum Disease
While some risk factors for gum disease cannot be changed, such as genetics, lifestyle changes can reduce your overall risk. Reducing sugar intake, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and reducing stress can all help. It’s also important to note that certain medications may increase your risk of gum disease by lowering saliva production. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, interdental cleaning at home, and regular dental visits are crucial in maintaining good oral health.
In conclusion, gum disease is not only a problem for your mouth, but it can also affect your overall health. Taking care of your oral health is a crucial step in reducing your risk for other serious health conditions.