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The Mouth-Body Connection

Many studies have been completed that show associations between your problems in your mouth correlating to problems in the rest of your body and vice versa. According to the Littleton and Aurora periodontists at Periodontal Associates, taking good care of your mouth with oral hygiene and regular professional care is beneficial for your overall health and well-being.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition caused by infection of the gum tissues surrounding teeth. If left uncontrolled, infection penetrates deeper into the space around a tooth, causing inflammation. Inflammation leads to the destruction of bone and ligaments around the teeth. The end result of untreated periodontal disease is tooth loss. Halting the progression of periodontal disease and maintaining excellent standards of oral hygiene will not only reduce the risk of gum disease and bone loss, but also reduce the chances of developing other serious illnesses.

Common Co-Factors Associated With Periodontal Disease

Diabetes
The severity of periodontal disease in the oral cavity can actually increase the amount of sugar that stays within the blood. In people with diabetes, this is a huge problem. A chronic elevation in blood sugar levels irritates blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels do not allow the same passage of nutrients and oxygen required for proper cell and organ function that non damaged vessels do. Without proper nutrient and oxygen delivery to tissues, kidneys, nerve cells, eyes, skin and gum tissues among others become damaged. Additionally, the body’s immune function becomes sluggish and slow which makes the body much more susceptible to infections. If an individual already has periodontal disease the effects are cumulative and destruction of the supporting structures of teeth becomes much more rapid. When poor oral hygiene gets added to the mix the results are disastrous in the mouth.
Heart Disease
A large amount of evidence has been accumulated over the last decade on how gum disease sufferers also have experienced life threatening conditions such as heart disease. Furthermore, the very bacteria that cause gum disease have been found to accumulate on heart tissue. The biggest link that this disease shares with gum disease is a constant state of elevated inflammation. Over time a chronic state of inflammation damages small and large blood vessels. Damage of these blood vessels creates inefficiency in oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues throughout the body. Without proper nutrient and oxygen delivery to heart muscle tissue it becomes damaged which can lead to a heart attack.
Pregnancy Complications
The Aurora and Littleton periodontists at Periodontal Associates believe there is a link between gum disease and pregnancy complications.

During pregnancy a woman will experience many changes in hormones and molecules within the blood. Some of these directly impact the gum tissues in the mouth or can stimulate birthing issues. One such hormone that can become off balance is called prostaglandin. Normally, this hormone is in very low production. At the right times, this hormone becomes elevated to help regulate inflammation and begin the delivery process of a newborn. Unfortunately, when a mother has uncontrolled gum disease, prostaglandin production can increase too early. If this production of prostaglandin becomes too high, early contractions leading to premature birth and a low birth weight is a serious problem that can occur. The bacteria that are found in gum disease actually stimulate your body to produce more prostaglandin at the wrong time.

Respiratory Disease
Oral bacterium linked with gum disease has been shown to possibly cause or worsen respiratory 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.

Contact Our Denver-Area Periodontists

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

Your Dental Health Starts Here. Request an Appointment.

Or call — 303-755-4500
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    Excellent experience! I had a tooth removed and implant placed during the same visit. It was the easiest dental procedure I've ever had done. Dr. Beckman is...

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