In its early stages, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, may exhibit few visible symptoms. But if left untreated, the disease can lead to tooth decay and/or tooth loss, and may even increase the risk of serious health conditions.
Here, Atlanta Smiles & Wellness, a comprehensive dental practice serving Atlanta and the surrounding area, reveals six serious health conditions linked to gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in the gums that, if given the chance, can enter the bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart. This in turn can harden the arteries and block blood flow through the body, increasing the risk of heart disease.
In addition to the entering the bloodstream, the bacteria from gum disease can also enter the airway and have an adverse effect on the neck and chest. If the bacteria enters the lungs, it can lead to pneumonia. Although treatable, pneumonia still leads to more than 50,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
A number of studies have linked gum disease and stroke. One study found that people diagnosed with ischemic stroke were more likely to also have an oral infection than individuals not diagnosed with stroke.
Recent studies have linked gum disease to Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, research has found that individuals with gum disease and Alzheimer’s showed signs of faster cognitive decline.
Gum disease has been shown to have several adverse effects on pregnancy. Pregnant women with gum disease have an increased risk of premature birth, fetal loss, gestational diabetes (a form of high blood sugar affecting pregnant women) and preeclampsia (a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication).
Research shows gum disease is a risk of factor for certain cancers, including pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings performed by a dentist during routine dental exams and cleanings are essential for early diagnosis and treatment.
Contact Atlanta Smiles & Wellness Today
Atlanta Smiles & Wellness can help you restore your oral health at any stage of gum disease. We also offer a full range of preventive dentistry treatments to keep your mouth free of gum disease and other dental issues. To learn more about our treatment options for gum disease, schedule a one-on-one appointment with our team. Contact us by calling (404) 262-7733 or emailing us today.