January 20, 2019
An alarming statistic shows that 85% of Americans suffer from some form of gum disease in Friendswood. The effects aren’t limited to just the gums, though. Medical professionals have discovered that if untreated, gum disease can also contribute to serious health issues in other parts of the body – some life threatening. Read on to learn 5 reasons why ignoring your gum health could be a big mistake.
What is Gum Disease?
When bacteria are allowed to grow, they can eventually work their way beneath the gum line. Over time, they can morph into germ pockets that can cause inflamed, red, sensitive and easy-to-bleed gums, which is the initial phase of gum disease.
The longer the condition goes untreated, the more severe the effects can be. As blood flows from the diseased gums to other parts of the body, there can be some complex problems that can arise.
#1 – Oral Cancer
It’s estimated that over 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. One of the primary contributors is untreated gum disease, as the bacteria can eventually wreak havoc inside the mouth.
#2 – Alzheimer’s Disease
A neurodegenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s disease primarily attacks the limbic system, which is the area of the brain that stores long-term memories. Advanced gum disease causes an increase in plaque development, which can then flow to the brain through infected blood.
One of the “calling cards” of plaque is that it increases inflammation, which can lead to harmful toxins collecting and destroying vital tissue.
#3 – Pancreatic Cancer
A more recent discovery is the connection between the gums and the pancreas, as advanced gum disease has been found to contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer. Researchers believe carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines, that are produced in a bacteria-laden mouth, can eventually flow to the pancreas and cause a chemical reaction that can lead to cancer.
#4 – Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
A relatively newly discovered condition, HPV infection is typically sexually transmitted. However, studies have revealed a connection between advanced gum disease and the virus, as people who suffer from the former, have a 51% higher chance of developing HPV infection.
#5 – Heart Disease
Arguably the most important organ in the human body, the heart can also be impacted from the accumulation of oral bacteria. Again, the main culprit for the problem is dental plaque that flows down to the heart. The plaque can then cause blockages that can lead to a heart attack.
The good news is that through practicing proper and consistent oral hygiene and visiting a dentist in Friendswood on a regular basis, there is a much greater chance of preventing the above illnesses. It’s also important to seek treatment for gum disease before any issues mushroom into a more complex problem. By being proactive, you can enjoy the best overall wellness possible.
About the Author
Dr. James T. Sierra earned his dental degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. A life-long learner, he has taken over 1,200 hours of continuing education to ensure he can provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive care possible at Friendswood Dental Group. Dr. Sierra can be reached for more information through his website.
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