When your dentist warns you about gum disease, the most prominent warnings usually center on the effects that the condition can have on your oral health. For instance, chronic inflammation is a signature characteristic of gum disease, and left unchecked, it can destroy your gum tissues and jawbone structure. As a result, the disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the U.S. However, the dangers of untreated gum disease and the inflammation it causes go beyond just your oral health. In many cases, it can also be an influential factor in your risks of other inflammatory diseases.
What Gum Disease Does
Gum disease develops in stages, and its first stage (gingivitis) is caused by harmful oral bacteria infecting your gums. At first, the most significant symptoms are redness, slight swelling, and occasional bleeding in your gums. Over time, these symptoms grow worse and cause permanent damage to your gums and jawbone, which is due mainly to the rampant inflammation of your gums and periodontal tissues. Along with other symptoms, the main cause of this inflammation is the specific oral bacteria type, Porphyromonas gingivalis.
How the Effects Can Spread
As gum disease progresses and your tissues begin to bleed more, bacteria like P. gingivalis have the chance to enter the blood stream and travel beyond just your gums. The longer your condition is left untreated, the more likely P. gingivalis can affect other tissues in your body, causing the same destructive inflammation. This can lead to higher risks of several chronic health conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
Protect Your Smile and More from Gum Disease
By preventing or treating gum disease, you do more than save your smile; you also reduce your risk of developing other chronic inflammatory health conditions later in life. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Lathrop Dental Center in Katy, TX at 832-437-3849. We proudly welcome patients and families from Katy, Fulshear, Weston Lakes, Simonton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Brookshire, Wallis, Orchard, Cypress, Sealy, Columbus, and all surrounding communities.