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MOUTH - BODY CONNECTION

oral bacteria into bloodstream

The mouth-body connection refers to the relationship between oral health and overall well-being. The presence of bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation, which has the potential to extend to different parts of the body, contributing to the onset of various health issues. Additionally, oral inflammation can compromise the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, posing challenges in managing diabetes. Extensive research indicates a significant correlation between periodontal disease and chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications, respiratory issues, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. It's important to note that this association doesn't imply a causal relationship between periodontal disease and these conditions or vice versa. Various factors, including smoking, age, sex, and diet, may impact both oral and systemic health. Therefore, maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups are crucial to prevent or address periodontal disease, reducing the risk of complications.

periodontitis and body impacts

Diabetes

A study has found that individuals with pre-existing diabetic conditions are more likely to have or be more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels, making it difficult to control the amount of glucose in the blood, which can increase the risk of serious diabetic complications. Conversely, diabetes thickens blood vessels, making it harder for the mouth to rid itself of excess sugar. Excess sugar in the mouth creates a breeding ground for the types of oral bacteria that cause gum disease.

 

Heart Disease

There are several theories that explain the link between heart disease and periodontitis. One theory is that oral bacteria that cause and exacerbate periodontal disease attach themselves to the coronary arteries when they enter the bloodstream. This in turn contributes to both blood clot formation and the narrowing of the coronary arteries, possibly leading to a heart attack. A second possibility is that the inflammation caused by periodontal disease causes significant plaque buildup, which can swell the arteries and worsen pre-existing heart conditions. An article published by the American Academy of Periodontology suggests that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria have an increased risk of developing heart disease.

 

Pregnancy Complications

Hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause increase the risk of periodontal disease in women. Pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia and delivering underweight, premature babies. Periodontitis increases levels of prostaglandin, which is one of the labor-inducing chemicals. Elevated levels of prostaglandin may trigger premature labor and increase the chances of delivering an underweight baby. Periodontal disease also elevates C-reactive proteins, which have previously been linked to heart disease. Heightened levels of these proteins can amplify the inflammatory response of the body and increase the chances of preeclampsia and low birth weight babies.

 

Respiratory Disease

Oral bacteria that are linked with gum disease can cause or worsen conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Oral bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and colonize, causing bacterial infections. Studies have shown that the repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis. In addition to the bacterial risk, inflammation in gum tissue can lead to severe inflammation in the lining of the lungs, which aggravates pneumonia. Individuals who suffer from chronic or persistent respiratory issues generally have low immunity. This means that bacteria can readily colonize beneath the gum line unchallenged by the body’s immune system.

If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and the mouth-body connection, please contact our office. We care about your overall health and your smile!

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