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Bad teeth can pose more of a health problem to a person than just an aesthetics problem.   More and more studies indicate that the health of the teeth and gums can affect the health of the whole body, and inflamed gums (periodontitis) can especially negatively affect the health of the whole body.   The chronic inflammation weakens the immune system, and is an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks , rheumatism and lung diseases.

Periodontitis is mostly painless

Inflamed gums – popularly known as gum disease  – usually affects people over the age of 40.  Caused by poor oral hygiene or improper brushing technique itself is a bacterial plaque that eventually attacks the gums. The onset of infection often remains undetected because it causes no pain. The trouble usually begins with bleeding gums, swelling of the gums and bad breath. In extreme cases, it will form gum pockets and bone loss is reduced.

Inflammation spreads throughout the body

But the inflammation is not restricted to the oral cavity.  From the gingival pockets, bacteria and pro-inflammatory mediators travel into the bloodstream.   Inflammation occurs in the blood vessels or even in previously damaged heart valves. The result: the risk for atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke increases. Studies show, for example, that the likelihood of cardiovascular disease in people with periodontal disease is increased by 70 percent.

Bacteria attack the heart and lungs

The connection between bad teeth and the lungs was showed recently by researchers from the U.S.. They found that people with bronchitis or COPD often have bad teeth.  Lung disease is caused when bacteria from the upper throat are inhaled and reach the lower respiratory tract. Various factors such as smoking or a weakened immune system increase the risk of developing lung disease. However, further research is needed to clarify the precise relationship, the researchers said.

Diabetics often have inflamed gums
Particularly well studied is the relationship between diabetes and gum disease. Those with poorly controlled blood sugar levels can result in bad wounds. The excess sugar in the blood promotes inflammation and inhibits healing. Diabetics can suffer up to 3.5-fold increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Conversely, the inflamed gums increase the insulin resistance.

Preventing periodontal disease

To prevent gum disease proper oral hygiene is essential.  Teeth brushing should occur at least twice a day.   The spaces between the teeth should also be cleaned daily with floss or special interdental brushes.   At least twice a year a prophylaxis should be performed by a dentist.   Here, the deposits and tartar are removed, and the teeth are treated with fluoride and given a thorough guide to dental care.


Giovanni Castellucci, DMD

Periodontal Associates

Source:  News Around The World

Views: 10233

Tags: bad, diabetes, disease, general, gums, health, heart, lungs, periodontitis, teeth


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Comment by Dr. Steffany Mohan on April 12, 2014 at 6:38am

Well presented the article! As we all know that bacteria and inflammation in the mouth are linked to problems like heart attack and dementia that jeopardize overall health. Sticky plaque is a kind of biofilm which lives on gum tissue, and teeth and crowns. Plaque keeps the acids that are produced with sugars and starches which break down the enamel. Inflammation is probably a common denominator.That is why earlier detection can help anyone to overcome all health issues on time .

Comment by Vu Le on December 20, 2013 at 12:10pm

Well written guideline on ill effects of gum & teeth, which has the intensity to ruin our overall health. Also it may threaten many unforeseen diseases too. That is why earlier detection can help anyone to overcome all health issues on time .

Comment by Dr. Victor Ryoo on September 20, 2013 at 1:16am

Dr. Giovanni Castellucci your post is such an eye opener to many, since we treat gum diseases or problem with ease but we need to stay alert to rectify our problem well on time, to avert further health related problems arising due to inflamed gums.

Comment by Denise Nueva on November 23, 2011 at 12:45pm

Dr. Castellucci thank you for posting about inflammation. If you have not yet heard about PeriZone™ PerioPatch®, it is a step forward in our ability to deal with inflammatory related diseases that you have written about. PerioPatch is a unique intraoral hydrogel patch that absorbs wound exudates and forms a protective barrier over inflamed gingiva and oral mucosa. It can be used as a complementary post-treatment appliance after many dental procedures . Whether a restricted irritation or an acute inflammation, traumatic responses can be controlled and rebalanced by PerioPatch. More information can be found at www.periopatch.com or by calling 866-797-1333. -Denise, RDH @ MIS Implants Technologies, Inc.

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