Most people understand that gum disease harms their oral health, leading to bleeding gums and eventual tooth loss. However, gingivitis and periodontitis do not limit their impact to the smile. The health of a person’s entire body is jeopardized when they develop gum disease.
Diabetes and Gum Disease Are Linked
Diabetes and gum disease encourage each other’s development. When someone has one of these diseases, they are more likely to get the other condition.
This relationship is caused by the interplay between blood sugar levels and infection. One of the symptoms of periodontitis is that the body has a harder time controlling your blood sugar levels, making diabetes a more likely condition to develop. In turn, the body’s inability to regulate sugar and insulin makes people more prone to bacterial infections, including gum disease.
Additionally, if a person already has diabetes, the same blood sugar irregularities caused by gum disease make their existing symptoms much worse.
Gum Disease Correlated to Other Conditions
While diabetes is the only condition with a demonstrable link, other health problems also tend to show up in patients who experience gum disease.
The most commonplace of these links are heart disease and periodontitis. Heart attacks and strokes are more likely to happen in patients with advanced gum disease than in those who do not. Alzheimer’s is also connected to gum disease, as patients with the former condition tend to have the latter as well. Certain cancers—pancreatic, lung, neck, and more—also show up more frequently in people with advanced gum disease.
The exact nature of these links is still being investigated, so having gum disease does not necessarily cause these conditions. However, it is safe to say that preventing gum disease, and treating it early when it occurs, is beneficial to your total well-being.
Contact Us for Gum Disease Treatment
Dr. Brian van Aelst is a periodontist in Tampa, with patients as far away as Wesley Chapel, Temple Terrace, and other nearby communities coming to him for gum disease treatments. He can help you overcome gingivitis and periodontitis for your oral and overall health. For more information, call our practice and schedule an appointment today.