21 Jan Are Your General & Dental Health Problems Linked?
Posted by: Jodie Blades Dental Nurse NVQ Level 3
Medically reviewed by: Dr Farnoosh Mimeh BDS MFDS RCS (Eng) General Dentist & Aesthetics Practitioner
Are My General Health Issues Linked To My Dental Health?
The links between Dental Health and General Health issues have been the subject of robust scientific studies for many years and the evidence is in undeniable. Studies suggest there is a direct link between gum disease and increased risk of developing serious health issues, such as; Heart Disease, Stroke, Dementia and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Let’s take a look at these links in more detail.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease is a condition which effects the gums and tissue in the mouth. It is caused by the build up of plaque bacteria, which uses the sugars and carbohydrates in your food to produce acids. These acids irritate your gums and the toxins it releases cause inflammation and damage to the surrounding gum tissue. Your body responds to this by sending more blood to the affected area, which causes your gums to bleed when you brush.
Did you know that 90% of adults in the UK have some form of gum disease, for many these are mild cases. It is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults, despite the fact that it is easily prevented. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine with regular brushing, check-ups with your dentist, and hygienist appointments is key to preventing this disease.
Related: Do You Have Gum Disease?
Health Issues Linked To Gum Disease.
Heart Disease And Heart Attacks.
Periodontal bacteria can release toxins into the bloodstream which can aid the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries. These plaque deposits can lead to serious problems, such as blood clots, which can block blood flow.
The presence of these bacteria may also cause the liver to produce proteins which inflame the blood vessels. Inflammation could eventually lead to a heart attack and other heart diseases.
Gingivitis (bleeding gums) can progress into varying stages of periodontitis at different rates for different people. It’s important to stay on top of your oral health with dental examinations and routine dental hygiene appointments.
Your diabetes will have an effect on your dental health, not the opposite way around.
If you have poor control of your blood glucose levels you are more likely to develop dental health problems. High blood sugar levels can affect the time the gums take to heal and can increase your risk of developing dental diseases like gingivitis and decay.
If you have diabetes it is advised that you pay extra attention to your oral hygiene regime and dental health.
Studies have shown a long history of links between dental health and dementia. A recent study is the first to actually pinpoint bacteria from the mouth in the brains of people with dementia. The constant activation of the immune system puts it under strain and long-term inflammation can cause premature ageing and disease.
A Study in the US provides evidence of a link between gum disease and increased risk for future stroke, the evidence suggests; ‘The more severe your gum disease, the more increased the risk of stroke.’ In the same way, it found that regular dental care was associated with a lower stroke risk.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease caused when the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. Periodontal bacteria encourage the production of proteins, which initiate this attacking response. Rheumatoid arthritis may take years to develop. By this time, it is too late to treat the periodontal disease that’s caused the attacking response.
A diligent oral hygiene regime not only protects your teeth but your general health too! Elevate your Oral hygiene regime with regular visits to the Dental Hygienist and regular Dental check ups will help to identify and treat any problems early, preventing more serious issues.
If you are concerned about any of the Health issues mentioned in this blog you should visit a your GP immediately. We recommend Prime Health Partners Private GP Service, for accessible warm and supportive care.