Tooth loss is an extreme consequence for most dental health issues, like cavities, gum disease, and sometimes, malocclusion (crooked teeth). In the case of gum disease, however, tooth loss isn’t the last consequence of neglect. In fact, its most severe form, known as periodontitis, has been linked to numerous ongoing health issues, mainly due to the mechanisms that cause the inflammatory condition. Though you may not realize it, your severe gum disease can affect your wellbeing long after you lose one or more teeth to the dental infection.
Permanent Tooth Loss
Since tooth decay’s the most common chronic disease in the world, you might expect it to cost more teeth than any other dental issue; yet, gum disease remains the leading cause permanent tooth loss. Unlike tooth decay, gum disease doesn’t usually cause discomfort, such as toothaches, until the disease has significantly progressed. As it attacks the gums and jawbone that support your teeth, gum disease slowly erodes your smile’s foundation. By the time may people seek treatment, the gums and jawbone have become so diseased that one or more teeth are lost or require extraction.
Increased Risk of Heart Disease
The driving force behind destructive gum disease is the inflammation caused by the persistent presence of bacteria. If allowed into your bloodstream through diseased gums, the germs can also wreak havoc throughout your body. Known as part of the oral-systemic connection, the relationship between poor gingival health and heart disease has been highlighted by numerous studies. For instance, the chronic presence of inflammation-causing oral bacteria can exacerbate your risk of atherosclerosis—a disease of the arteries that often leads to heart attack and failure.
Systemic Illnesses Due to Inflammation
Your heart and gums aren’t the only parts of your body that can suffer from rampant inflammation. Besides cardiovascular issues, periodontal disease has also been associated with;
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease (exacerbated by inflammation in the brain)
- Respiratory infections, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
About Your Southlake Dentists:
As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.