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While the harmful effects of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, have been documented and highly publicized within the last few years, what people don’t seem to realize is how bad periodontal disease really is for you oral health and overall health.

Not only does periodontal disease cause bleeding gums and in worst cases tooth loss, recent studies have shown that it may also be linked to other major health complications. One possible reason may be that it is a bacterial infection, and bacteria can travel anywhere throughout the human body. With that being said, listed below are a few ways periodontal disease can affect your overall health:

  • It can harm your heart. Patients suffering from periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart complications, such as coronary artery disease, compared to those who don’t have periodontal disease. One theory is that harmful bacterial from your mouth can enter the blood stream and attach to fatty plaque in your hearts blood vessels, which can cause inflammation and increase the risk of blood clots. Gum disease can also worsen existing heart conditions.
  • It may affect your respiratory system. Inhaling harmful bacteria has been known to cause respiratory infections. Research has shown that the bacteria that grows in your mouth can be inhaled, which can cause respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
  • It can affect your memory. Some studies have suggested that people with periodontal disease may be at a greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. While other research has suggested that gum disease may be associated with mild cognitive impairment, such as memory problems that make daily life or tasks more difficult. Experts believe that the oral bacteria may spread to the brain through the nerve channels connected to the jaw or through the blood stream.
  • It can make blood sugar tough to control. People who have diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease, than those who don’t. This is probably because those with diabetes are more susceptible to infection, including gum disease. Research has found that diabetics with gum disease can lead to increased blood sugar and diabetic complications.
  • It may cause problems with conception. Aside from pregnant women being more at risk to develop periodontal disease, it seems it can also cause problems with conception. Those with periodontal disease may have a tougher time conceiving. Another study found that pregnant woman with periodontal disease may have an increased risk for miscarriage.

Now that you’re a little more informed about the additional harmful effects of periodontal hopefully you will take your oral care much more serious. If you are suffering from periodontal be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist.

For prevention or treatment options regarding periodontal disease, contact Berry Hill Dentistry at 516-921-1717 or visit our website at www.berryhilldentistrypc.com for more information regarding periodontal disease.