How Gum Health Affects Your Entire Body

Though most people don’t know gum health influences the entire body, it plays a significant role and can actually offer insight into your overall health.

Learn how your overall health and gum health are related, then you can take steps to better protect yourself. 

What is the Link Between Gum Health and Overall Health?

The primary reason your overall health can be significantly affected by the health of your gums is your mouth. There’s a lot of bacteria in your mouth – even the cleanest teeth are surrounded by bacteria. As a gateway to the body, your mouth will pass this bacteria along to places like your bloodstream and digestive tract. 

With normal brushing and flossing, bacteria is removed and any left behind is mostly harmless. In the absence of a good oral care routine, however, bacteria in the mouth can run rampant. 

When bacteria is allowed to accumulate in the mouth, gums can become swollen, painful, bleed easily and recede. This is gum disease. When the gums are no longer healthy, they begin to recede and can no longer protect teeth against harmful bacteria. Bacteria is then able to travel throughout the entire body and inflict widespread effects. 

How Does Gum Health Affect Heart Health?

Unhealthy gums can wreak havoc on the heart. Here is what we know so far about gum disease and its impact on the heart:

How Does Gum Health Impact Diabetes?

Gum disease appears more frequently and severely among diabetics because diabetes lowers the body’s immunity, making it harder to resist infections. 

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease is cyclical. Uncontrolled diabetes increases the glucose levels in mouth fluids, promoting the growth of the very bacteria that lead to gum disease. Uncontrolled gum disease increases glucose levels in the bloodstream, making diabetes harder to control. 

Can Poor Gum Health Lead to Bone Loss?

Gum infections left unchecked will continue to spread and worsen into periodontitis, a chronic infection that starts by attacking the gums. Once the bacteria has infected your gums, your jawbone will be the next stop. 

When the infection reaches the support structures of your jawbone, bacteria (along with your body’s immune system) will weaken your bone tissue (alveolar bone loss). If the bone loss is severe enough, your teeth can loosen, fall out or require removal. 

How Does Gum Health Impact the Lungs?

Bacteria from infected gums can be inhaled into the lungs where they spread and multiply, ultimately, impairing the breath. If bacteria makes it into the lower respiratory tract, it can make existing lung conditions worse or cause new respiratory infections. 

Periodontal disease has been shown to contribute to the contraction of:

For those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), periodontal disease has been proven to worsen the condition. 

How is Gum Health Connected to Infertility & Prenatal Care?

Due to hormonal changes, pregnant mothers are more susceptible to gum infections, which can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. Gingivitis and periodontitis are known for causing severe health problems, like premature births and low birth weights. 

Gum disease can result in health issues throughout the body, all which can make conceiving a child and sustaining a healthy pregnancy much more difficult. It can take a shorter amount of time for women with good oral health to become pregnant than it may for women who need to improve their gum health. 

Can Poor Gum Health Affect Prostate & Reproductive Health?

Prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, and periodontitis are linked, most likely due to the inflammation caused by gum disease. In patients suffering from both issues, treating their periodontitis improved both conditions.

Chronic periodontal disease is known to increase the risk of erectile dysfunction. The bacteria from diseased gums can spread to the bloodstream, inflame blood vessels and block blood flow. 

Does Gum Health Impact the Brain?

Outside of headaches, the brain and the gums aren’t mentioned often together but studies have linked gum health to cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s. 

Can I Improve My Gum Health at Home?

Gum disease is preventable and the damage done is reversible if a dentist is allowed to catch it early enough. Just as poor gum health can impact the body negatively, healthy gums reduce your risk of developing a number of serious health issues. 

To improve your gum health, follow these tips: 

When Should I See a Dentist About My Gum Health?

Don’t delay seeing a dentist if you think you have gum disease – almost half of the country’s population suffers from some form of it. 

If you notice any of the following signs, it is a good idea to schedule a dentist appointment and have your gums examined: 

Make Gum Health A Priority and Improve Your Overall Health!

Take control of your gum health and contact us at (310) 626-0004 today to schedule an appointment. We will diagnose any issues and create a gum health plan to achieve a healthy, long-lasting smile!


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